Sunday, September 11, 2016

So Sweet

If you read my devotional last night, you know that today I was to deliver to our Chinese-speaking part of our congregation a presentation on my recent mission to Vietnam. It went well with help from the Lord! For the first time, I was translated by the incomparable Yanping Cheng who normally interprets from Chinese to English but did the reverse this morning. I will reprise the lesson in three days to our English-speaking adult class on Wednesday night. It will be my third go round as I did a modified version for our WCS faculty and staff during in-service. By the third attempt, I should have it down cold! 

My presentation is Power Point, consisting of 218 slides. I'm no tech guy so it took me hours to put together. But, I move quickly with no dead time, addressing the highlights of my four week adventure with basic information about the work there, spliced in with pictures of food, cute kids, the school, etc. Fifteen of the slides cover Sunday morning worship and some thoughts about the church in Can Tho. One in particular, shown above, is from their song book. Unless you speak Vietnamese, you probably would not know it is the well-known hymn, 'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus.' All the songs they sing are in English, standard church songs translated into Vietnamese. As I did my last walk-through at home this morning, I decided to check if it was in something I use to augment my scripture reading, The ONE YEAR GREAT SONGS OF THE FAITH Devotional Book. This work takes a hymn every day, telling the story behind its writing. Sure enough, 'Tis So Sweet' was one of the entries and guess what day it's on? SEPTEMBER 11! Today, of all days! And then, guess what the closing song in our English service was, after David Yasko's sermon on how we survive when our world caves in? The trifecta as the gamblers would say; 'Tis So Sweet' yet again. I felt the Lord was whispering in my ear!

Reading about the hymn from the One Year book, I learned what I did not know. Louisa Stead was with her husband and four year old daughter at the beach on Long Island. Her spouse, trying to save a drowning boy, lost his life as did the boy. Louisa became a widow and her child became fatherless. They had no way to make a living and scraped by. Let me quote from the book:
"One morning, when she had neither funds nor food for the day, she opened the front door and found someone had left food and money on her doorstep. That day, she wrote this hymn. It remains a timeless reminder and comfort to all believers who have experienced this same truth:
'Jesus, Jesus, How I trust Him,
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er.
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh for grace to trust him more!' "

How on earth do you write words like that, lines that have endured more than a century, in such depths of despair? By knowing who to trust. By knowing the pain here will not last into eternity. By knowing earth is a temporary dwelling. And by knowing He will never, ever forget us. I have no doubt that will translate into any language.

Applicable quote of the day:
"A good hymn should be like a good prayer - simple, real, earnest, and reverent" 

William Walsham How (author of  "We Give Thee But Thine Own")

To listen to this hymn, click or copy and paste the link below!

God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at

No comments: