Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
The joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue;
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
Hath won my affections and bound my soul fast.
Without thy free mercy I could not live here
Sin soon would reduce me to utter despair;
But, through thy free goodness, my spirits revive,
And he that first made me, still keeps me alive.
Thy mercy surpasses the sin of my heart
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart,
Dissolved by thy goodness, I fall to the ground
And weep to the praise of the mercy I found.
Great Father of mercies, thy goodness I own,
And covenant love of thy crucified Son:
All praise to the Spirit, whose action divine
Seals mercy and pardon and righteousness mine.
Thy Mercy My God was originally printed in 1776, and almost 250 years later, John Stocker’s words stir my heart. I keep thinking this week of God’s heart-melting goodness. I keep thinking how much — over and over, daily, moment by moment — I need His compassion, His sympathy, His goodness.
I love God’s goodness.
For without His free mercy, I couldn’t live here — I would be reduced to utter despair. But because His mercy surpasses the sin of my heart, I’ve felt my heart’s hardness departing, dissolved by His gracious love.
And again and again, each time I begin to believe I’m self-sufficient, puffed up with pride, ignoring my Lord’s lead and hardening my heart, He brings me back. With mercy, He rescues me from distress and despair. He forgives.
And so, from the first ’til the last, just as the sun melts the coldness of the snow and ice, the covenant love of God dissolves the hardness of my heart.
All by His goodness.
“… let your saints rejoice in your goodness.” (2 Chronicles 6:41)
Painting: Melting Snow, by Paul Cezanne, 1880.