This is one of my current favourite songs/hymns. Henry Lyte wrote the words in 1824, and Andrew Osenga does a great version of it on Indelible Grace’s second album, Pilgrim Days (you can listen to it by clicking the Pilgrim Days link). It’s a sincere, honest hymn filled with imagery of the difficulties of the Christian life, but contrasted with the hope and peace found in Christ – “Man may trouble and distress me/’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.” I think one reason why I like it so much is because of it’s honesty in struggles. So often current Christian music (K-Love anyone?) is candy-coated, idealistic, promoting of an easy Christian life, and frankly annoying. But this is a hymn of challenge to me – so often do I need my will and heart broken to rely on Christ. Too often do I look to earthly gain and cower in life’s storms. How I need the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit to grant me stronger faith and to say with confidence “All must work for good to me.”
Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.
Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me,
Show Thy face and all is bright.
Man may trouble and distress me,
’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with Thee.
Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn and pain
In Thy service, pain is pleasure,
With Thy favor, loss is gain
I have called Thee Abba Father,
I have stayed my heart on Thee
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.
Soul, then know thy full salvation
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
Think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee,
Child of heaven, canst thou repine.
Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission,
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.