Thursday, May 08, 2008

"Hold Thou my hand"

I've been thinking of the words of this hymn of Fanny Crosby's this morning. The tune is not that singable but the words are really rich, especially coming from a woman who was herself blind. I imagine that her sense of touch and her consciousness of needing help to walk around, just on a human level, were very real. But here, Fanny applies that to a higher plane - that of needing the help of God to navigate through life, to know God's nearness and touch, to fear his absence and the possibility of stumbling, to need his light to guide our steps, etc. It is encouraging that she sees this need right to the end of her life—right to the gates of death, we will need God's strength, his holding us so that we do not fall, so that we can experience joy and help in our weakness.

Hold Thou my hand: so weak I am, and helpless;

I dare not take one step without Thy aid.

Hold Thou my hand: for then, O Loving Saviour,

No dread of ill shall make my soul afraid.

Hold Thou my hand: and closer, closer draw me

To Thy dear self, my hope, my joy, my all;

Hold Thou my hand: lest haply I should wander,

And missing Thee, my trembling feet should fall.

Hold Thou my hand: the way is dark before me

Without the sunlight of Thy face divine;

But when by faith I catch its radiant glory,

What heights of joy, what rapturous songs are mine!

Hold Thou my hand, that when I reach the margin
Of that lone river Thou didst cross for me,
A heavenly light may flash along its waters,
And every wave like crystal bright shall be.

—Fanny Crosby 1879

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