HIS HAND IS ALWAYS THERE TO HOLD –
In continuing the Song of Ascents, the compilers add another psalm that deals with the pilgrim’s testimony about what it is like to serve the Lord while living in a contrary society, so that their children will understand and be aware of the journey ahead. Since no one is perfect, then everyone must be ready to deal with their errors; to be honest with themselves; and to have complete faith in God’s willingness to accept the prayer of a child under conviction who is seeking forgiveness.
“O LORD Eternal, I’ve never felt such deep pain and agony as I cry out to You. O Heavenly Master, please let my cries get Your attention; yes, please let my pleading cries be detected by Your ears. O LORD, I know that if You kept track of all man’s faults and failures, O Heavenly Master, no one could survive. You’re the only One who forgives sin, that makes You all the more awe inspiring. My soul tarries as I eagerly await Your answer, O LORD Eternal, because You’re the only one whose word I trust. Yes, my soul anticipates what my Heavenly Master has to say more intensely than those who can hardly wait for the sun to rise. To all believers I say, put your trust in the LORD Eternal; because with Him there is complete forgiveness; for He will paid the ransom for all believers.” Psalm 130:1-8
Reflection: On Friday, December 29, 1876, Philip Bliss, one of America’s most prolific hymn writers, sat on a train with his wife headed for Ashtabula, Ohio for a New Year’s holiday. Suddenly the train lurched as the bridge it was crossing collapsed, throwing Philip Bliss out of the railroad car. Though he was injured, Bliss charged back into the burning wreckage to try and find his wife trapped inside. Unfortunately, neither Philip nor his wife Lucy emerged alive. This occurred, only a short time after Bliss had written his last song. Perhaps the words of that hymn echoed through his mind as he and his wife lay dying inside the burning train: “Sing, oh sing, of my Redeemer, with His blood, He purchased me. On the cross, he sealed my pardon, paid the debt, and made me free.” We don’t know about the perilous conditions that surrounded the psalmist who wrote this psalm, but we do see that both he and Philip Bliss expressed the same faith in God’s paid redemption. So, in their time of greatest need, they relied on any remaining debt for sin to be fully covered, so they could have blessed assurance. What a great sense of peace and security that brings to any soul, especially when the circumstances might include the end of life. Since it proved true and consoling for these song writers back then, it will prove just as reliable and comforting for us right now. So, just as you reach for a light when you are suddenly enveloped by darkness, reach for God’s hand when you can’t see you way because of uncertainly or despair. You will see that your Redeemer is always there for you.