Saturday, June 02, 2007

Let Your Mind Dwell On These Things, Part II

When I was in college, the Navigator group that I was involved with memorized two hymns in my junior year. "Be Thou My Vision" and "Crown Him With Many Crowns" were the first hymns I sang without having to use the hymn book. Inspired by this, I "borrowed" a hymn book from church (I returned it a few weeks later) and wrote down all the lyrics to all my favorite hymns to memorize. A few months later, when I hard cold, hard cash in my pocket--a precious sum of 20 bucks, I bought a hymnbook to use during my quiet time worship, sometimes playing my flute.

The next year, I hurt my back one summer while grafting apple trees. It was a major source of my income to pay college tuition, plus a bonus in the spring according to how many of my trees survived the winter. I always did well, but God was teaching me to rely on Him. So, I went back to campus early to find a job before the fall semester started. I got a job as a parking ticketer on campus. Which meant walking through several lots and parking garages by myself. It was mind numbingly boring but one of the highest paid jobs around. I wasn't allowed to wear a walkman, so I sang my mental hymn book while on the job. Since I had several hours of monitoring lots, I had to increase my repertoire to fill in the time. My all time favorite was "How Firm A Foundation".

How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord

Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word.

What more can He say than to you He hath said

To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

"Fear not I am with thee, O be not dismayed,

For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;

I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,

Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

"When through the deep waters I call thee to go

The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;

For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,

And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,

My grace all sufficient, shall be thy supply;

The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design

Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,

I will not, I will not desert to his foes;

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I'll never, no never, no never forsake!"

Later that winter, I babysat for a couple so that they could attend bible study on Friday nights at our church and then go out for coffee afterward for their date night. It was easy, their boys were already in bed and I could sit at the kitchen table and study and drink tea if I wished. I noticed that Jenny had a hymnal opened in a cookbook stand by the kitchen sink to "How Great Thou Art". It reminded me of a quote I read about Ruth Graham Bell, Billy Graham's wife, of how she got through raising a bunch of kids while her husband was always on the road by having a bible open in every room of the house where she was most likely to see it and be able to get a short reading in while getting stuff done, like washing dishes, folding laundry or changing diapers. Jenny and Ruth showed me that no matter what, if you are committed, there is always a way to enjoy God's fellowship and His Word.

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