Yesterday, I spent most of my time in devotion, prayer, and reading. I try to take these kind of days on a pretty regular basis because I see my need for reflection and refreshment. As I read, I came across an old hymn whose words ministered to me. For today’s post I thought I would share them with you. It speaks to our need for perspective as we encounter various trials. It speaks to our need for the cross of Christ, the gospel, as we live out this life. Once you have read the entire hymn and thought through the implications, re-read just the first line of every stanza. These salient points form a good reminder of the charge behind this thoughtful hymn.
Heavier The Cross, The Nearer God
Heavier the cross, the nearer heaven;
No cross without, no God within;
Death, judgment from the heart, are driven
Amid the world’s false glare and din.
O happy he with all his loss,
Whom God has set beneath the cross!
Heavier the cross, the better Christian;
This is the touchstone God applies.
How many a garden would be wasting,
Unwet by showers from weeping eyes!
The gold by fire is purified;
The Christian is by trouble tried.
Heavier the cross, the stronger faith;
The loaded palm strikes deeper root;
The vine juice sweetly issues
When men have pressed the clustered fruit;
And courage grows where dangers come,
Like pearls beneath the salt sea foam.
Heavier the, cross, the heartier prayer;
The bruised herbs most fragrant are.
If sky and wind were always fair,
The sailor would not watch the star;
And David’s Psalms had never been sung
If grief his heart had never wrung.
Heavier the cross, the more aspiring;
From valleys we climb to mountain crest;
The pilgrim of the desert tiring,
Longs for the Canaan of his rest.
The dove has here no rest in sight,
And to the ark she wings her flight.
Heavier the cross, the easier dying;
Death is a friendlier face to see;
To life’s decay one bids defying,
From life’s distress one then is free.
The cross sublimely lifts our faith,
To Him who triumphed over death.
Crucified One! the cross I carry,
The longer, may it dearer be;
And lest I faint while here I tarry,
Implant such a heart in me,
That faith, hope, love, may flourish there,
Until for the cross, my crown I wear.