One of the hymns you might find me warbling on a given day…oh, say around the time of my first melt-down…is Annie Hawks’ “I Need Thee Every Hour”. Only I usually add “…and minute and second…”, which I can do because I can’t really carry a tune anyway so there is always room for more words or notes or whatever I feel like adding.
I was singing it one day and it came to mind to look up the story behind it.
Anticipating some beautiful testimony of suffering that would make my little problems seem small, I hoped to gain even more perspective on how to get a grip on a life that really is pretty cushy compared to most of the world.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that Mrs. Hawks, wife of Mr. Hawks and mother to three little Hawklets, was in the midst of her daily tasks when she apparently was overcome with the near presence of the Lord.
She was so taken with love for Him, that she wondered how she could exist for a moment without Him.
She was, by her own account, just having a fine day working around the house and this precious hymn of the church flowed out of a heart of love for the Lord.
I guess at first she couldn’t understand how people were so drawn to it as a song of comfort when she just wrote it out of a sense of realizing how precious sensing His presence is in the midst of the ordinary.
And this gives me pause to wonder.
Do I just express my need for Him in crisis mode?
Do I only cry out and acknowledge my great emptiness and desperation for His Presence when everything, including me, is falling apart?
In fairness, Annie Hawks later experienced loss and learned first hand what the rest of us were getting out of her lyrics.
But I am hoping to develop a heart like the one from which these sweet words poured out.
A soul that sings of deep longing BEFORE the breakdown….before the shadows fall….before I am starting to slip down in the mire…because…by faith, NOT FEELING, I CAN know that I am in His presence.
All the time.
Scripture after scripture assures me of this.
I don’t have to ask FOR Him to presence Himself with me. That is a done deal.
I need to remind MYSELF that He is always, always with me and that even JOY is empty and pointless if I do not acknowledge Him at the center of it all.
So, I will no longer reserve this song I love so dearly for times when I am running on empty.
But in truth, I can sing in all the ups and downs…I need Thee…OH! I need Thee….every split second I need Thee…..
off-key and out of rhythm and I may even include a dance break