We live in a time in which hope seems to be in short supply. The world is in turmoil. The old Christian guard is dying. And Christians around the world are under heavy persecution.
In reality, believers have always lived in tension with the world. Granted, our tension looks different than in centuries past, but that’s all the more reason to return to the fundamentals, such as singing hymns.
This past Sunday during worship, we sang “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” written by Robert Robinson in 1758.
According to Hymnary.org, “In 1752, a young Robert Robinson attended an evangelical meeting to heckle the believers and make fun of the proceedings. Instead, he listened in awe to the words of the great preacher George Whitefield, and in 1755, at the age of twenty, Robinson responded to the call he felt three years earlier and became a Christian. Another three years later, when preparing a sermon for his church in Norfolk, England, he penned the words that have become one of the church’s most-loved hymns: ‘Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace.’”
In the second verse, Robinson writes:
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Robinson hoped, by God’s good pleasure, to safely arrive at home. This is the great Christian hope — the believer’s confident expectation of heaven. Confident in the finished work of Christ. Confident that we can’t do anything to earn it. Confident that Jesus left earth to prepare a place for us in his Father’s house, just like he said.
Such gospel hope caused Paul and Silas — who were beaten and thrown into prison, having their feet bound in stocks — to sing hymns to God at midnight. It saw Corrie ten Boom through the darkness of Ravensbrück. And it has caused a multitude of Christians throughout the centuries to lay down their lives.
Christian hope sustains us, prompting us to take our eyes off our circumstances and placing them on our Savior. We all need to be reminded of this sometimes.