Saturday, February 10, 2007

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Brought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand

This is probably one of my favorite modern hymns. I don't know who sang it originally, who wrote it, or anything like that, so if the copyright police find me - I'm guilty! If anyone knows, please tell me so I can give credit where credit is due.

The first time I heard this, we sang it in worship. I didn't know it, of course, but I liked it. This was when I had first moved back in with my parents, and I wasn't sure that I really wanted God to be that much a part of my life. Sure, I was a Christian, but I figured only the really special people got to have the relationship with Him that I could only dream of. I hated that I wasn't good at it, or that I wasn't living up to my parents' expectations of who I was supposed to be in God. I wasn't living up to my own.

See, everything seemed easy to me, or it seemed easy for everyone else. For me, it was hard. So hard that I just...gave up. No, I didn't deny God, I just refused to believe He wanted anything to do with me. I mean, why did I matter? It was just easier to get on with my life and not worry about whether or not I was going to mess up.

But I did mess up. Again and again. I fell into a depression that I didn't think I'd ever get out of. I cut myself off from everyone except for one or two people. For those people I had to associate with, like at work, I kept it short. I didn't like myself, and I didn't think anyone else should like me, because I was a horrible person. I wasn't worth knowing. The sad thing, though, was that I was desperate for companionship. So in spite of all that I did, I felt like I was the one abandoned.

The thing that struck me in this song is in the fourth verse. When we sing it in worship, everyone else gets excited about the part in the third verse that says, "Then bursting forth in glorious Day/Up from the grave He rose again." They clap and cheer, some just wave their hands in the know how it is. But for
me, the part that gets to me is this in the fourth verse: "No power of hell, no scheme of man/Can ever pluck me from His hand."

Not only will He never abandon me, but He will hold on to me so tightly that nothing or no one, even me, will be able to separate me from Him. It took me a long time to realize this truth. It's taken me a long time to know it in my heart that it is truth.

It's still hard for me. Some days I just feel that there is a huge granite wall with a moat that holds crocodiles and piranhas between God and me. Some days it just feels like a picket fence. I know that barrier is me. My pride, mostly. But He's on the other side, waiting for me to step through. I can feel Him.

He's also on my side, holding my hand with His, and giving me the grace and strength the make that step. I can feel Him.

I wouldn't be able to feel Him if He had decided that I wasn't worth it.