I heard the following message on the radio today on the way home from a medical appointment. The gentle words of Joni Eareckson Tada reminded me of the unmatched love, peace, joy, and grace we have as believers in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Perhaps it will speak to your heart too?
“Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with another poem for you today, and I hope that you enjoy poetry as much as I do and—believe me—I have amassed quite a collection of poems throughout the years. Many of them started out simply as poems but eventually were put to music and are now part of the timeless collection of hymns of the faith. Such is the case with this poem by Horatius Bonar. It was written in the 1860’s and became a favorite hymn in many churches. And for me, it’s a favorite because, well, it captures what I “feel” about the Gospel, about Christ’s amazing love and my unworthiness. Let me read this poem called “Not What My Hands Have Done” and see if it resonates with you.
Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my pressing load.
Your voice alone, O Lord, can speak to me of grace;
Your power alone, O Son of God, can all my sin erase.
No other work but Yours, no other blood will do;
No strength but that which is divine can bear me safely through.
Thy work alone, O Christ, can ease my weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God, can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God, not mine, O Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest, And set my spirit free.
I bless the Christ of God; I rest on love divine;
And with unfaltering lip and heart I call this Savior mine.
His cross dispels each doubt; I bury in His tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear, each lingering shade of gloom.
I praise the God of grace; I trust His truth and might;
He calls me His, I call Him mine, My God, my joy and light.
’Tis He Who saveth me, and freely pardon gives;
I love because He loveth me, I live because He lives.
That’s a beautiful poem, and there you have it! And I love that line, “His cross dispels each doubt, I bury in His tomb, each thought of unbelief and fear, each lingering shade of gloom.” Oh, that I would remember to do that every time I have doubts or fears; right? It’s a powerful poem because it captures the way we ought to look at the Gospel. Ah, but so many of us feel as though we are the ones who have done God a big favor by accepting Jesus as our Savior. We take the Gospel for granted and so focus more on what we bring to the table—the Good News—rather than fall down prostrate in the dust, simply amazed at what God has brought to the table. It’s why I want to thank Horatius Bonar for this remarkable poem.”
From: www.joniandfriends.org, 5 Minute Radio Program, extracted April 16, 2013