Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I Cannot Tell -- Hope Chronicles 84

Recently, I found myself in a discussion about the second coming of Christ. Someone pressed me a bit on it, but I stayed true to my answer. It is not something I have studied extensively so I am hesitant to take a firm stance on if the rapture will happen pre or post the millineum. I do not know if the things written in Revelation are literal or figurative.

I do know that many people missed Jesus' first coming because they were so entrenched in their belief of what a king and his coming kingdom would look like. When you think King, you do not think of a baby, swaddled in a manger. You do not picture a boy in hand me down clothes or with sawdust in his hair. You do not picture a man riding on a donkey instead of a great stead. You do not picture the cross. Even more than that you do not picture a rolled away tombstone.

In many ways, I cannot fault so many for missing Jesus when he did not come like any king they knew. But that is the rub. He wasn't and isn't like any king they knew.

I went to a hymn singing Methodist church during my junior high and high school days. But it wasn't until I was in InterVarsity as a college student that I came across the hymn by William Young Fullerton called I Cannot Tell. Even then, the only place I have ever heard it sung was sporadically at camp. To be honest, the range does not lend itself to something I can sing well. However, the lyrics captured my mind and embedded themselves in my heart.

If you've never heard this hymn (and even if you have), will you take the time to read the words? It alternates between "I cannot tell" and "This I know". In my estimation, it is a song of hope of who He was and is and who He will finally come as.

I cannot tell why He whom angels worship
Should set His love upon the sons of men
Or why, as Shepherd, He should seek the wanderers
To bring them back, they know not how or when.
But this I know, that He was born of Mary
When Bethlehem's manger was His only home,
And that He lived at Nazareth and laboured,
And so the Saviour, Saviour, of the world is come.

I cannot tell how silently He suffered,
As with His peace He graced this place of tears,
Or how His heart upon the cross was broken,
The crown of pain to three and thirty years.
But this I know, He heals the broken-hearted,
And stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear,
And lifts the burden from the heavy laden,
For yet the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is here

I cannot tell how He will win the nations,
How He will claim His earthly heritage
How satisfy the needs and aspirations
Of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
But this I know, all flesh shall see His glory,
and He shall reap the harvest He has sown,
And some glad day His sun shall shine in splendour
When He the Saviour, Saviour of the world is known

I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship
When, at His bidding, every storm is stilled,
Or who can say how great the jubiliation
When all the hearts of men with love are filled.
But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
And myriad, myriad human voices sing,
And earth to heaven, and heaven to earth will answer:
At last the Saviour, Saviour of the world is King.

So, when things turn to the second coming, I hesitate -- not because I doubt the second coming -- but because I do not want to miss a moment of it because of my preconceived ideas of what that will look like. I pray that my heart and soul would be tender enough to recognize my Lord when He comes in a whirlwind or a whisper. Better yet, I pray that I will recognize Him in the everyday dealings in my life. It is both a scary prayer and a hopeful prayer because I think it is one He is only too willing to answer.

I've found the last few months to be a daunting time with the economy and relationships and every manner of thing. I love the perspective of this song: His past, His present, His future. Tonight, I am particularly thankful and hopeful for who He is at work in my present circumstances:

But this I know, He heals the broken-hearted,
And stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear,
And lifts the burden from the heavy laden,
For yet the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is here
Merry Christmas. The Saviour of the world is here.



Anonymous said...

Thank you for this hymn. I love it so much. I don't remember the melody, but the words completely make up for that~ :)

"But this I know, He heals the broken-hearted,
And stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear,
And lifts the burden from the heavy laden,
For yet the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is here"

That right there is so powerful... Healing, calming fears, lifting burdens, staying our sin... my Savior is here... and that is what I need to be reminded to focus on...
not hazardous driving conditions or anything else... and wondering how I am going to get home with the kids from Milwaukee...
Jesus is here, and He will show me, and He will guide me, and He is with me, in and through everything.

Thank you my friend, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas

WildSunflower said...

AMY!!!!!!! This is an awesome post! Good job, my friend!
I am sorry I am only getting here now, but I hope and pray you had a blessed Christmas!
I have had a difficult year, and pray that the new one will bring good things.
My prayer for you is the same : that you will be blessed abundantly in every way; that you will continue to seek Him with all your heart and mind; that He will draw near to you and be your comfort and strength!
Thinking of you lots! (((HUGS)))

Laura said...

I have never heard this hymn before but I am with you, Amy--Wow! I totally agree with you about the second coming too. I don't believe we are supposed to have it all figured out, do you? He is mystery, and faith is our strength.

Hope your holiday was sweet.