If Ever I Loved Thee

It is very late and I should be in bed with a book in hand awaiting that magical moment when eyelids sag and the book falls to a random spot nearby so that I awake in the morning without remembering exactly when I fell asleep; instead, I’m sitting alone on our front porch listening to music and reflecting on the chaos of the past week. A senseless killing, a splintered nation, justifiably angry victims of injustice, violence in the guise of free speech, peace officers brutalized for no offense other than keeping belligerent citizens safe, a small child murdered by his mother and hidden in a church dumpster, a friend who died much too young, and innocent individuals muddle through bewilderment, all while reeling from the threat of an unseen and little understood virus. I preached today to a gathering of believers seated six feet apart. Reflection brings no solace to this heavy heart, so I do what I’ve done since my mother taught me to cling to Psalm 56:3, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” In my own dark night of the soul, I hear a hymn from my childhood I had all but forgotten:

My Jesus I love Thee, I know Thou art mine.
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou.
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ‘tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, and I’ll love Thee in death.
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath.
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ‘tis now.

Despite all misconstrued evidence to the contrary, God is love. The love of God, and love for God is quite profoundly all that will carry me through the dark morass of a society stacked against the Cross. Created in the image of a loving Father and beloved Son, my prayer is that I may love so intensely in return that the family likeness will be unmistakable.

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