This past Sunday, I started crying and for some phrases could only mouth the words of the song “Oh, How He Loves You and Me” during a worship assembly. That song was the lullaby that I sang to my middle child, who later would die at age 27. But this past Sunday, my love and grief for my son drove me to an overwhelming awareness of God’s love for me as I participated in the singing of the song with other Christians. What songs have affected you in such a way?
The song reflects biblical prayers that tell of God’s love that protects and empowers during life’s most threatening moments. The song reminisces about Jesus’s death on the cross as an example of God’s sacrificial love. Psalm 138 gives thanks to God for his steadfast love and faithfulness. The psalmist prays,
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands” (Psalm 138:7-8).
When I sang that song when I cradled my infant son in my arms, I prayed that my child would know God’s love and respond to it. When I sang it at his funeral, I realized afresh that God’s love extends beyond the end of this life. As I sing it now, awareness of God’s presence and continuing love strengthens me even while I move to hurdle new challenges. In recent weeks, I have spoken about God’s helping us to navigate the storms of life as I have spoken to churches across the United States about prayers in Psalms 107 and 130. Prayer is an important part of safe passage on that journey, whether silent, verbalized in speech, or sung.
As we speak to our God, we remember that we are not alone. Our prayers, and the prayers of others that we hear or read, remind us that we live for a purpose, and return focus and direction to our lives. Let’s remember when we suffer, to confess our faith in the enduring love of the Lord even as we plead, “Do not forsake the work of your hands.”
- Biblical quotes are the English Standard Version of the Bible.
O Lord God, the paths of our lives are rocky and uneven. At times it seems that we have left a path to set sail on a voyage across uncharted and stormy seas. As we move as in a fog, fear and uncertainty threaten our composure and compete with our faith in your ability to guide us to our destination. Remembering your love helps us to remember that we live with purpose and move towards reunion with those whom we love. Guide us as we travel, that we may see more clearly your light piercing through the darkness. Dispel the fog that depresses our hope. Comfort us when we weep as we pray and sing. Oh, how you love us. May we never forget that truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.