There are many good, and even some great, Christian songs being written and produced today. It is easy to get so caught up in the latest releases we forget the rich history modern worship music draws from. Below is part of a series looking back at historic hymns that drew much more than just the voice of the worshipper to heaven. It also directed the worshipper’s heart, mind, and soul to the reality of our holy, infinite, righteous Father.
Written by a Puritan church leader and theologian Richard Baxter (1615-1691), the hymn, “Lord, It Belongs Not to My Care” expresses the reliance and confidence believers place in Christ for their earthly and spiritual lives. Its simple but eloquent verses remind us of God’s love and provision for His children, the joy of living under His lordship, and the expectation of eternal happiness in Christ.
Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.
Verse one opens with an expression of complete reliance on God. The truth is simple, yet profoundly impacts how we should live. We are not called to long, happy lives or short, unhappy ones. We are only ever called to love God and serve Him, and we can only do this by His strength. He both leads us on our journey and carries us in His arms. We are wholly dependent on His grace to follow Him. This should cause us to cry out in prayer for His closeness and grace in our lives.
If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?
Verse two proclaims that if God sees fit to let the believer live to be old, then the believer is happy to have that time to obey God and follow Him. But if not, then how much happier is it for the believer to be face to face with God? Happiness in the Lord awaits the believer either way.
Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that unto God’s kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.
Verse three contains such an amazing truth! Christ does not stand far off, watching us make our miserable way through our Christian walk. He was the one who blazed the trail. There is nothing we can go through that He has not already felt. Our sufferings, no matter how hard, are nothing in comparison to His. We have a loving, merciful Savior who is willing to guide us, comfort us, and take the burden of our suffering onto His own shoulders. For those who still balk at the hardships of the Christian life, the hymn warns that there is no other way to God’s kingdom.
Come, Lord, when grace hath made me meet
Thy blessèd face to see;
For if Thy work on earth be sweet
What will Thy glory be!
Verse four is a plea for God to come quickly. The believer, above all other things, longs to be close to God in fellowship. That is where true joy and contentment are found. This verse looks forward to that contentment by saying that if following Christ in our earthly lives is joyful, then how much more joyful will it be seeing Him face to face?
Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior’s praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ’tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.
Verses five and six look forward to the mystery of eternal bliss with God. We will set aside our earthly lives and sin and take up the eternal life that is characterized by fellowship with God. We do not know what that life will be like, but we have faith in Christ to bring us to our journey’s end.