The Christian Connection
Abide With Me
By Myra F. Smith
“Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.” (From the hymn, “Abide With Me”)
Henry Francis Lyte and his wife Ann were pastors of a little fishing town in Devonshire England for over twenty years. Three years before his death in 1847, Henry was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He preached his last sermon on September 4, 1847, at the age of 54.
He took a walk that same September afternoon and came back to his room to rest. One hour later, he walked out with a copy of “Abide With Me”. He traveled to Italy soon after to escape the damp and cold, but died only days later. A fellow pastor was with him on his trip and reported that Henry’s last words were, “Peace! Joy!”
“When other helpers fail and comforts flee, help of the helpless, O abide with me.” How perfectly Henry phrased his deepest emotions! There is no effective medication or medical assistance to prevent his death. Helpers are gone and life’s comforts have vanished.
“ Change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me.” His death is coming quickly. But, wait! Henry knows the comfort and love of a God who never changes.
Henry’s hymn was first sung at his own memorial service and went on to be a favorite of King George V and Mahatma Ghandi. Sung at the weddings of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, it has been included in the soundtrack of no less than ten movies and television shows.
But the true legacy of this beautiful song is the peace and joy it has given to millions through the years. God printed the words to this song on Henry’s mind within a single hour, but the message lives on forever.
Now, that’s Joy.