I have learned over the past few years that I enjoy going deep into favorite songs. Digging into the words and allowing them to shine forth with meaning that I can take in and seek to apply as I walk through life with Jesus, and that I can write about to share with others.
I have known for some time what my next song would be. It just kept coming to mind randomly, begging me to look inside. I’m turning the knob to open the door. Come on in.
Be Thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart. Naught be all else to me save that Thou art.
This is a wonderful song, an ages old classic hymn. But there is so much packed into this one line that I want to just stop and focus here.
What a beautiful prayer. A prayer that you would expect a very special saint to pray. A missionary in a dangerous third world country, or a person well known for making sacrifices and changing lives for the better. You know, people like Mother Theresa. Elizabeth Elliott. Paul the Apostle. Or that person who walks the dark scary streets sharing the gospel and rescuing and helping others at the risk of their own safety.
Be… As in, You, Lord, be all to me. Please be all to me. But this is not something I need to beg Him for. It’s not like He bestows this level of intimacy upon some who are good and ask nicely. No, I don’t to ask Him to be Who He already is. He is all, everything, everywhere, all powerful, almighty, all holy, ever present, ever caring, ever orchestrating and working. Instead of asking, I need to demand this, but of me. And then I need to keep demanding it of me, continually.
Be Thou my vision… God, May You be everything I see. May You fill my vision completely. I long for You to fill up and overshadow everything else. I long to have this perspective from which flows everything else, to lead my thoughts and emotions and actions. How? By my choice to focus on You in the midst of the cacophony of noise and distraction and promising possibilities vying for my attention. In a world where there are so many tantalizing desirous paths to promises of good and fulfilling benefit, I must continually take sharp turns to dry and dusty roads where I find that hard work brings soft rain and growth of the seeds of Your unfailing promises. A beautiful metamorphosis in progress, a gradual, wonderful, unfolding of freedom in You. Freedom to be about becoming who You created me to be.
O Lord of my heart… For any of this to be possible, for You to be what I see, for me to begin to experience the reality that You truly are all that I need, I must submit to your Lordship. I must acknowledge You as Lord of my heart, of my soul, of my life. I must allow You to rule, to move, to guide, to discipline, to teach me. I must have a repentant and contrite heart so that I am teachable.
Naught be all else to me save that Thou art. I have a map with a big “X” on it. I want to get here: To the place where I can say this and it be completely true: Naught be all else to me save that Thou art.
Yes. Sounds wonderful. And selfless, born of true humility.
But how can I even get close to this understanding that drives my complete and utter reliance on and trust in You? Truth: I don’t see this as ever attainable.
I want it, sure. I long for it. Yes.
But I must want it enough. Enough to give myself totally away…so that it truly becomes all about You. Only then can I move toward this sacrificial line of the verse that declares that nothing else exists except You, so focused am I on who You are, so grateful am I for all You’ve done, for me. Naught be all else to me save that Thou art.
Be Thou My Vision… Be my eyes, be all that I see, in everything, in every moment. Every second of every day, through my day in day out mundane yet you-never-know unpredictable life. Be all that I see, through my stress and wondering and worry, through my pain and frustration and sadness and longing. Through my long held useless efforts to control my world because I believe the lie that if I can control it then I am secure. Be all that I see, my focus, what I frame my whole world around. Oh God, may that be You to me. The frame that holds my world together.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. Ps 63:3-4