Sunday, August 14, 2016

'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take him at His word;
just to rest upon His promise,
and to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

Refrain:
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
just to trust His cleansing blood;
and in simple faith to plunge me
'neath the healing, cleansing flood! [Refrain]

Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
just from sin and self to cease;
just from Jesus simply taking
life and rest, and joy and peace. [Refrain]
Written by Louisa M. R. Stead in 1882, this favorite and simple hymn speaks of the sweetness of trusting Jesus. Mrs. Stead knew something about trusting Jesus. She had felt called to the mission field since her youth, but her health prevented her from going. She married in 1875 and then tragically lost her husband who, on a family picnic at the Long Island shore, drowned trying to rescue a boy in the water. Louisa went to South Africa to be a missionary. She and her new husband returned to America after some years to recover from her failing health, but they returned again to Africa -- this time Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). From there she wrote back to America,
In connection with this whole mission there are glorious possibilities, but one cannot, in the face of peculiar difficulties, help say, "Who is sufficient for these things?" But with simple confidence and trust we may and do say, "Our sufficiency is of God."
Louisa ultimately died there in 1917. Her daughter married a missionary and served in the mission field as well. All of this -- the drive to serve, the pain of catastrophic loss, the serving under serious health problems -- all lay on top of this singular thought: "'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus." Her life reflected her trust in Him.

The verses offer powerful points of trusting Jesus. There is His Word, where the simple "Thus saith the Lord" proved sufficient to rest in it. There is His blood, in which she could have release from sin, spiritual healing and cleansing. There is His presence that sanctifies and gives life, rest, joy, and peace. All that is necessary for life, then, can be found in trusting Jesus.

In the refrain she makes two critical points. First, her faith isn't blind. Her trust isn't credulity. She trusted Him to begin with, but after time she proved Him. Hers was a trust from experience. "How I've proved Him o'er and o'er." It is the blessed faith of a saint a little farther down the road. Can I trust Him? Yes, because He has always proven trustworthy. The second point, however, is often missed. Mrs. Stead trusted Jesus for all the essentials of life because He was ultimately trustworthy, but she had a secret. She did not see her faith in Christ as something she mustered up. No. She prayed, "O for grace to trust Him more!" You see, she saw her faith in Christ as a gift, a matter of grace.

In this is faith's critical secret. Louisa trusted Christ through bad health and the tragic loss of her husband and the father of her daughter and through serving in far-flung places. She called it "sweet". Sweet? Really? It is things like this that cause others to give up on God entirely. The difficult parts of life lead others to conclude there is no God. How could she call it "sweet"? It is because she didn't drum up this faith herself. She wasn't counting on her own capacity to trust Him. She was given a measure of faith (Rom 12:3). And she echoed the prayer of the father asking Jesus to heal his child, "I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)

It ought to be our praise: "'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus; I've proved Him o'er and o'er." It ought to be our prayer: "O, for grace to trust Him more." It is certainly her legacy to her daughter and to us.

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