“Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
We sang the hymn ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’ recently and it always puts a lump in my throat and causes goose bumps to scurry up and down my spine. It was written by William Whiting in 1869 and its words cause me to consider how fortunate we are to called to be His children living with His promise that we will be with Him in paradise one day. If you have ever been on the ocean in a boat during a storm or swimming against the current you fully understand how helpless we are against His might.
The children in the attached photo attend school at Pont Sonde and they fully understand the power of the vodou priest, but take comfort as you and I do in know that the power of our Triune God is more powerful and mighty than all the forces of the evil foe; we can be sure that He is with us, in control of the storms and will ultimately bring us to be with Him in paradise.
This hymn is also known as ‘The Navy Hymn’ as it was played on most ships each day they were at sea. During World War II, it was used at the funeral for almost all sailors buried at sea and if there was no band or recording available, it was sung a cappella by the crew or the words were read by the commanding officer. I still remember how it struck me as it was performed as President John F. Kennedy’s body was carried up the steps of the capitol to lay in state in November 1963, and also as his body was lowered into its grave. May it bring you comfort on this day as you may be facing storms and trials along your journey.
“Eternal Father, strong to save, whose arm hath bound the restless wave, who biddest the mighty ocean deep its own appointed limits keep; oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, for those in peril on the sea! O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard and hushed their raging at Thy Word, who walked on the foaming deep, and calm amidst its rage didst sleep; oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, for those in peril on the sea! Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood upon the chaos dark and rude, and bid its angry tumult cease, and give, for wild confusion, peace; oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, for those in peril on the sea! O Trinity of love and power! Our family shield in danger’s hour; from rock and tempest, fire and foe, protect us wheresoever we go; thus evermore shall rise to Thee glad hymns of praise from land and sea.”
Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay