O Love Beyond Compare,
Thou art good when Thou givest,
when Thou takest away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when night gathers over me.
Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.
Thy goodness has been with me another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.
Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
With Thee as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past.
I bless Thee that Thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.
If Thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
Thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see Thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify Thyself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use.
–Arthur Bennett, ed., “Year’s End,” in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1983), 111.
What do old sailors learn?
When the lure of the sea fades
and their faces are aged by the sun and the wind.
When ships don’t come home.
And the waters bring more danger than play.
And those of us on land…
After the glitter of this season
and hope takes flight or fall.
You know my mind
that I’m wired to worry, and trust is a foreign language.
So faith is unnatural to me.
And if You hadn’t chosen and anchored me first,
I would certainly be lost at sea.
And now, as “I hoist sail and draw up anchor…”
Pilot me now, my future as You have my past.
That this vessel may bear gifts when it returns to You.
That I may not come on driftwood to shore.