It was such a joy for five elders from our church to attend the Shepherds’ Conference this week in Sun Valley, California. We thank the Lord for John MacArthur and the other faithful ministers of the gospel who fed our souls from God’s Word. We also were blessed to sing praises to the Lord as a congregation of 3,000 men. One song that several of us commented on was originally written by John Newton and first published in 1779. We sang it to the tune O Waly, Waly.
If you know what it means to experience affliction of the soul then you will be ministered to by these lyrics, which remind us that the sovereign God who afflicts us is also the only One who ultimately can bring to us the comfort that promotes our spiritual growth. Meditate on these words, and sing it here).
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.
’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”
This hymn is included in the new hymnal, Hymns of Grace.