Deliver Me

“When the tempter me pursu’th
With the sins of all my youth,
And half damns me with untruth,
Sweet Spirit; comfort me!” ~ Robert Herrick, “His Litany to the Holy Spirit”[1]

Suffering often causes one to reflect on the shortness of life. Scenes from the past begin to flicker in the mind’s eye. Video clips of moments like a smile from one of your kids, your wedding day, or laughter with a friend play in your mind.

Undoubtedly you also ponder harsh words uttered in the heat of an argument. You recall an ill-advised gesture, a moment you wish you could relive. You’d like a mulligan. But, alas, you can’t. At those moments you can only cry with David, “And now, O LORD, for what do I wait? My hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7). Then you recall the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 1:1, where he refers to Christ as “our hope.” Only then do you find yourself bathed in the ocean of God’s forgiveness.

Just as Christ “has beams of majesty, so he has a heart of mercy and compassion.”[2] Therefore:

May my cry be always, Only Jesus! Only Jesus!
In him is freedom from condemnation,
Fullness in his righteousness,
Eternal vitality in his given life,
Indissoluble union in fellowship with him.[3]

 

[1] Poems That Live Forever, ed. Hazel Felleman (NY: Doubleday, 1965), 344.

 [2] Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (1630; Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2005), 8.

 [3] Arthur Bennett, ed. The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2005), 97.

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