“Abide with us: For it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” Luke 24:29
The story goes that as Henry Francis Lyte sat by his dying friend’s bedside, his friend, with his last breaths, kept repeating the imploring words the disciples spoke to Jesus after His resurrection (Luke 24:29). His friend, though, whether by accident or on purpose, kept repeating the disciples’ phrase “Abide with us” incorrectly. He changed the pronoun us to me. Before his closing eyes, in life and death, Lyte’s friend called out to his Lord, “Abide with me!”
Later Lyte, himself sickly through much of his life and dying at age 54, wrote poignant words based on the same verse. Reading his beautiful phrases, I’m strengthened in this resolve: I don’t want to be like the culture around me. I don’t want to spend my days working toward pain avoidance and revolving around shallow trivia. I want to love Jesus wholeheartedly. I want to abide with Him, knowing Him, not just about Him.
For Jesus, and only Jesus, can meet mine, or yours, or any person’s deepest needs. No matter what anyone says, when eventide falls, and foes and ills attack, when heaven’s morning breaks, in both life and death, the only cry equal to your soul’s need for lasting hope and joy is this: O Lord, abide with me!
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
To hear Indelible Grace’s beautiful rendition of Abide with me, listen here.
Abide with me, by Henry Francis Lyte, 1793-1847