Yesterday on social media a national speaker recommended a song. It caused me to research it for a moment. I chose to watch it on YouTube not by the version recommended, but by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir out of New York. This song, “I Love the Lord” pierces the depths of me, cuts through my shame and guilt, and leaves me at the feet of Jesus feeling dearly loved. Praise His Name.
The song was written in the 17th century by Isaac Watts. And when I wonder about that era of time, what was going on then… I conclude as Solomon says, “nothing new is under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). That means nothing is new, nothing. The same human nature has existed all this time and Isaac, for whatever reason, was making a claim that in spite of it all, he loved the Lord.
The test of the Christian life is this. In spite of it, whatever the “it” is, our love for the Lord is challenged, our hearts tested, purified. We learn to love the Giver, not His gifts. We learn as Habakkuk proclaimed in his suffering, “yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:18).
For me, as I progress along the road of briar bushes and unexpected slips in the mud, I learn why loving the Lord is no longer the challenge, but the solution.
In spite of it all, loving the Lord over bitterness becomes my approach. In spite of it all, I see how glorious it is to love the Lord. In spite of it all, it is He who can cheer my soul, bring hope into my crazy, and let me know He has heard my cry. In spite of it all, I know it is He who ministers to me. And, all I can say is, … I love the Lord.
I Love the Lord
I love you, Lord; you heard my cries,
and pitied every groan;
Long as I live, when troubles rise,
I’ll hasten to your throne.
I love you, Lord; you bow your ear;
you’re ever good and just.
Then let my heart feel no despair!
Your power has all my trust.
If you behold me sore distressed,
you bid my pains remove;
I’ll turn my soul to you, my rest,
and witness to your love.
Isaac Watts 1719
I love the Lord because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath! Psalm 116:1-2