Hymns of Hope: Day 9

Be Thou My Vision


Today's Text: Psalm 119:105-112, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Philippians 3:7-11

Scripture Reading: Psalm 119:105-112, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Philippians 3:7-11

“God doesn’t give guidance, he does guidance, and you’re in the middle of it.”

Pastor and writer Tim Keller’s words shocked me. I rewound the sermon podcast and listened again. I was in a job I hated—smack dab in the middle of a two-year commitment that felt like it would never end. The world told me that since I was unhappy, I should walk away. And I liked the sound of that. Daily, I pulled into the parking lot and cried, staring at the red-brick building. Inside, 200 seventh graders and several fellow teachers were ready to wear me down, yet again. I wanted to quit. In fact, I was seeking out biblical support to walk away. Instead, Keller’s words cut through the noise.  

I had been praying for God to give me guidance—I wanted Him to show me the way out of my work situation. But Keller’s words reminded me that God had already done the guiding, and unfortunately, He’d led me to this red-brick building. I wanted to leave, but I knew He was calling me to stay. It took every ounce of faith and courage I could muster to step out of my car each day, and into the job He’d called me to. The world tells me to follow my heart, but God tells me to follow Him. It matters greatly which path I choose.

The words of the hymn “Be Thou My Vision” encourage me in my endeavor to live above the common level of life. Because believe me, when I’ve chosen to follow God instead of myself, He has led me on very uncommon paths. He has led me into places of resistance and uncertainty and darkness. But if I truly want to bring light to the world, I can’t be afraid of the dark. Left to my own direction, my heart is a compass that guides me toward passions and pleasures. But God is the true compass, guiding me along His ultimate path for me, changing my heart and renewing my mind in the process.

As it says in 1 Corinthians, following God must look like complete foolishness to people who do not know Him (v.18). But my heart is a broken instrument, so how can I possibly trust its direction? Only God is trustworthy to lead me.

Consider the stanzas from “Be Thou My Vision.” See how each word is antithetical to the world’s call to seek our own way—fame and fortune, pleasure and comfort. The lyrics of this hymn are a reminder of who our God is and what He provides. He is with me. He protects me. He provides power. He brings wisdom. He endows me with treasure in heaven. He is my destination, both now and for eternity. And He is my greatest hope. Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, [Lord] still be my vision, O Ruler of all.


Be Thou My Vision
Text: Irish hymn, sixth century
Prose Translation: Mary Byrne, 1905
Verse Form:  Eleanor H. Hull, 1912

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that Thou art:
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle shield, sword for the fight;
be Thou my dignity, Though my delight;
Thou my soul’s shelter, Thou my high tower,
raise Thou me heav’nward, O Power of my pow’r.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou, and Thou only, first in my heart,
great God of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.


Claire Gibson is a writer whose work has been featured in publications including The Washington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine among many others. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Patrick, their son, Sam, and their dog, Winnie. Her debut novel, Beyond the Point, will be published next year.

  • Kelly Patterson

    This study was so profound for me today. My husband and I have been praying for “clear direction” for quite some time now… since our unborn child was diagnosed with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia two years ago. They told us she would die and recommended we terminate but we persisted, moved temporarily across the country to have her, and now she’s a spunky 17 month old! But lately we have been praying for God to open the doors for us to move. Despite all of my family being here and a really good school for our oldest, we simply aren’t happy where we live and wanted to raise our children elsewhere. My husband accepted a job which will move us to Austin, TX and we move in one month. Now I find myself questioning every decision we’ve made and all the things we’ve prayed for and I have been praying for clear direction and guidance once again…. And even in this moment of my life where I’m looking for God to break down every plan we have to move, He keeps propelling us forward because this too is a part of His plan for us. Whether permanent or temporary, as I’ve started this devotion series, God has made it increasingly clear that in my weakness He is stronger and that His grace is sufficient for me – no matter where I am… but that this time in our life where I’ll be away from my family, God will be glorified every step because my weakness will force a reliance I simply don’t have when I’m at home surrounded by all the things that make me confident in myself. So grateful for this series and the revelations it has provided.

  • Alexandra Finocchio

    Hymns of Hope is my first reading series that I’ve committed and stuck to. Though, I’ve had days in between where I haven’t read, but I’m determined to finish. Lately, I’ve been asking God not to lose hope in me, because I’ve continually said I would seek him on a daily basis and have not. Instead, I attended mass weekly and then went about my week without constantly seeking His word. Just writing that truth makes me cry. This reading really meant a lot to me. I feel that it captures everything I’ve been feeling with my journey to seek God each and every day, and be strong to follow His way and not my own selfish desires. A friend introduced me to SRT about a year ago, and though I’m disappointed I haven’t participated in this amazing community before now, I am filled with joy to finally be seeking Him on a daily basis and thereby interacting with the inspirational women of SRT. Thank you.

    • Praying for you

      Don’t forget to give yourself grace along the way, sweet friend.

      You are not the only person who is “behind” on this series (or who has ever fallen behind on this readings). God meets us where we are. You are here and so is he. Believe that and walk in that.

    • Kayla LMc

      Our God loves you with an everlasting love! His mercies are new every morning and He is always faithful!

    • Ashley Bell

      Amen Jesus loves you and desires to grow with you. His door is always open and his grace is always full.

  • Elise Davis

    I’ve attended a church that sang old hymns, it’s always been contemporary praise. I’ve never had a true appreciation for them until I started this devotional. How much I have been missing!

  • For those of you, like this writer, who are stuck in a job they don’t like: There is a light at the end of the tunnel! God has a plan, and he won’t leave you in a job that makes you miserable. He has a purpose for you in that job, while you are there. It may be 1 year or it may be 10. And either he’ll change your heart so you won’t hate it, or he’ll change your job, but he doesn’t let his children suffer needlessly.

    I was in a teaching job that got harder every year because I knew that it wasn’t my long-term calling. I was burnt out, frustrated, overrun, etc. etc. I wanted out after year 2, but God had me wait another year. Finally an opportunity opened up that allowed me to leave and take another job. It was a risk (less benefits, less security, new town), but boy am I glad God gave me the courage to take a leap of faith! I am so much happier and fulfilled at this job, and it is certainly a new mission field as well.

    Find joy in the waiting. Let God use you. Trust his timing.

    • Anna Simpson

      Praise God!
      I too have been in situations like this, situations where I’ve been frustrated with God because I can’t see why he has me in these awful environments still. But through the experiences, he teaches things like patience, contentment, trusting in Him that He knows best, and learning to listen to His voice. Like you say Amanda, He won’t leave you miserable forever, you just have to trust in His plan. And also accept that you might never know the fruit of that plan. He might have you there just to plant the seed with one person.. and then you move on to somewhere else. I’ve had to learn the hard way that sometimes a difficult situation doesn’t ever seem to bear any fruit to me – but I don’t know what else God has planned for my life and He might be shaping me for something to come in 20 years time! So just to echo what Amanda has said – to any of you ladies in a similar situation now – God’s got this. He sees what we don’t and all we have to do is trust in and listen to Him.

  • Angelina Hansen

    This hit hard today… I’ve been struggling with a job I don’t like. I am so exhausted when I come home I feel I’m not able to be present with my husband and daughter. It’s so difficult because I’m in a contract for 3 years and it’s only been 6 months. I feel that pull to just give up and quit. I sometimes question why God would lead me here, but I asked for his guidance and he led me. I have to remember that his plan is perfect. My heart and desires however are not.

    Help me Father to see the good in your vision of my life. And when I can’t see it Lord, help me to be strong in my faith and remember that you are protecting me, guiding me, and loving me. Amen

    • Anna Simpson

      I will be praying for you Angelina. I was in this position earlier this year where I felt trapped in a job that exhausted all of me. There was nothing left for my husband. And because I’ve experienced an extremely similar thing in the past I was determined that God wanted me there for a reason and that I just had to pray my way through it. Deal with it. Long story short, I fell pregnant and God told me to quit. Not to wait for maternity or anything, but to trust in His provision.
      You may think you’re in a contract for a certain length of time, and that may be God’s plan for you. But He also may surprise you or challenge you in a new way and provide a way out. Just trust that this job is one piece of the jigsaw puzzle, God sees the whole thing!!

  • Susan Crosby

    My elderly mother came to live with my husband and me about a year ago. She suffers from severe panic attacks and anxiety. I struggle with where I find myself almost daily because although I love my mother dearly it’s been a big adjustment. I always have to remind myself that for whatever reason this is where my mother belongs. God has placed her in my care and I need to see His vision.

    • Jennifer

      We moved in with my mom 3 years ago when my dad passed away. I know what you speak of firsthand. Sending you fortitude!

  • Blythe Hunt

    My family and I were called to remain last year. Because we live in a consumerist society and are selfish humans, I balked at not feeling the freedom to change our circumstances simply because I didn’t like them. It’s a difficult thing to learn to be faithful when you are called somewhere you don’t want to be. Over a year later, and my feelings haven’t changed—I still don’t want to remain—but my trust in a loving God has deepened, and my belief that God is kind and sovereign has increased. I am finally starting to believe that somehow, in some way, remaining will have made a difference not only circumstantially, but in our hearts as well. Thank you for this.

  • Amanda Armstrong


  • Victoria

    Wow. What a timely message. I was just lamenting my job in ministry – and jealous of a friend who was “getting out.” I needed to hear this today. That maybe God has me right right where He wants me. And that He will provide the strength that I need.

  • Oh gosh! So timely! Thank you for this timely sharing, I’m in similar situation as you and have asked God for a sign for me to leave my job which I am so tired of and struggle to go to everyday and I asked and prayed for doors to be open or a clear direction coz I don’t know where else to go and this morning, this was the word! Looks like I’ll be staying put for now like you. Doing something I feel discomfort and ‘stupid’ in for God’s purpose and glory

  • Sarah D.

    Hey everyone!! Would love your prayers, my sister has been in labor for awhile with their first baby, and they are going to do a C section very soon. Would appreciate prayers for safe delivery and a healthy baby and mommy!! Thank you all!

    • Dorothy

      Been there and done that — what your sister is going through — will definitely pray for her.

      • Sarah D.

        Thank you so much! Baby was born today, and both mommy and baby are doing well!

  • This really resonated with me as just recently I left a job which I hated to follow my heart. I am really wondering if that was the right choice to have now made. I did think at the time maybe I was supposed to be there as it was just a negative place and maybe I was supposed to be the change but instead the pull was too strong to leave when an opportunity arose which allowed me to stop working for a year and take some time out.

    • Kay

      Kelly, I have been in a similar situation and recently left a position that was both challenging and draining. I found that instead of me bringing God’s light into difficult situations, I was bringing the negativity and frustrations home adding stress there. Sometimes God calls us to stick it out, but sometimes He calls us to step out in faith too. I don’t yet know exactly what His plans are for me, but I know that I can’t allow satan to bring doubt into my decision to be faithful in trusting that God will provide, even when it isn’t clear to me. I pray that you will receive the strength and assurance you need during this transition time also. God will not not lead you to something without leading you through it.

  • Lynn Johnson

    Be Thou My Vision each and every day Lord! Love this devotional today!

  • This hymns brings such joy & peace to my heart! What a beautiful hymn, and prayer!

  • This is so rich. This study of hymns is helping reignite a pull toward the Word and cultivating joy in my time with God. For the first time in a long time (maybe ever) I’m seeing a change in my heart to anticipate time alone with God and not dread what I saw as an obligation. Creativity is overflowing out of these times in a season when I was in danger of drying up.

  • I have had the situations like Claire, the author, has described multiple times in my 39 years of nursing. After trying travel nursing, I found was not for me, I came back home and found a job taking for of young child with special needs. I originally had planned on doing this until I could get some online courses take to manage a medical office. Now God has changed my mind I am going to continue to work with her as long as I can. I only work part time but it is enough to get me by and pay my bills with a little extra. I have found my happiness and God led me right where I needed to go for it. This song diffidently spoke to this point.
    I do ask my sisters in Christ that you keep my future daughter-in-law’s father and her and her family in prayer. Her father is on life support. He went into the hospital yesterday. I don’t know all the details. She and my son are trying to have a baby through in-vitro.

  • Philippians 3:10-11. SRT version. My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.
    Why would he have to work towards achieving the resurrection from the dead? Should be part of (vs 9) having “the righteousness from God based on faith “.

  • Hi SRT fam. I ask for your continued prayers as I heal from my concussion which happened 5 weeks ago. I had a week where I was feeling normal, pain free, and energized! I was able to get back on my bike, go back to work, and enjoy time with friends. I felt so much hope and joy in this time. But a few days ago, the pain hit again and I’ve been back in bed feeling discouraged and worn down. I know God is working through me in this time, teaching me and growing me, but it is so difficult when so much feels uncertain. It’s so easy for me to neglect God in this time because I feel frustrated and angry with Him. I ask for prayers that I would continue seeking him out, crying out to Him for restoration of my soul and head. Thank you!

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Annie, thank you for sharing. We’re praying for continued healing and encouragement for you during this time. We’re grateful that you’re here! -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Dorothy

      Praying for you Annie

  • Irene Stebila

    Thou are my vision a lamp to my eyes so that I may see the path you have layed before me. Keep me forever on the right path, lead me to keep my eyes on Jesus and seek His guidance and remember Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.

  • I sing this song to my son every night however I missed the third verse. “Be thou my dignity”??! How powerful. As today’s verses say – God uses the low and despised to bring down the worldly “wise.” Its a good reminder when I feel troubled, sad, and outcast. My dignity is in Him!

    • Dorothy

      Kara thank you for pointing that out I needed to hear that right now I’m going through an emotional roller coaster and I am finally getting back on the “God end of it”. For about four weeks straight all I had wanted to do is go to work — I work 5 pm to 10 pm (at times a little later) come home and watch TV until all hours of the night/early morning sleep and start the same thing again. Your post and doing this devotional and reading what my sisters have to say has helping me greatly.

  • Jennifer Martin

    Amen! ❤️

  • Wow. It never ceases to amaze me when God puts the words in front of me that I need in a certain moment. I’ve been feeling called recently to a decision that will inherently change the comfortable existence of my family. To anyone outside it makes no sense, but I know I’m my bones that God has something big for us. I’ll continue to seek His wisdom, knowing that He will light my path in a way that transcends human understanding.

  • Chloe Richards

    Claire, I would love to know which Tim Keller sermon that was you referred to. My husband and I are in a similar work situation, and I think we would benefit from that additional learning on guidance. Really blessed by your post. Thank you!

  • Lauren Bourgeois

    “The world tells me to follow my heart, but God calls me to follow Him.” Preeeeach! Haha it’s so true! Knowing, and trusting in Him truly does surpass all the riches and pleasures the world has to offer, and far exceeds any plan that I could ever conjure up on my own. He is so inherently good, how sweet it is to walk with Him.

  • Katelyn Kuipers

    “If I truly want to bring light into the world, I can’t be afraid of the dark.”

    I know it’s unprofessional, but I wrote that on my arm today as I head into a long day of teaching summer school and working in a teen Bible camp. I need to carry that with me. Thank you!

    • Dorothy

      That is a good way to do it. I’m a nurse and many times I didn’t have paper and to write things on my hands.

  • Liz Tardo

    Speaks to me in my life at this very moment. Feel called into uncharted waters, where I would NOT have gone and where my heart wasn’t. The closer I get to God, the more he’s placed this burden in my heart. I’m trusting and know this is the path. Thank you Lord for being my strong tower.

  • The world tells me to follow my heart, but God tells me to follow Him. It matters greatly which path I chose.

    Really needed this today. Struggling mightily in my marriage. Daily I want to walk away. Daily the world encourages me to walk away. People of faith tell me to walk away. Obedience is so hard! I am miserable. Our children are pretty miserable. I feel so hopeless much of the time. But it does matter greatly which path I choose and more than anything I want to walk the path He has for me.

    • Gena

      Jesus help this sweet lady to lean on you during her struggle. Wrap your loving arms around her. Give her your wisdom. Let her feel your strength as she trusts your guidance. Heal the brokenness in her marriage. Create a family unit that depends on You. Restore joy and peace to her and her children. In Jesus name, Amen.

    • Irina

      Brandi, you are choosing right path! Listen to His guidance and He will lead you to a greater joy in your marriage and in your life overall. It will not be easy, but it will be rewarding. I was there and I see results of my obedience to His word. God bless you, my dear sister.

  • “Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
    still be my vision, O Ruler of all.“

    This line got me through the darkest moments of my life! I’ve decided to keep my eyes on Him and His vision no matter what world throws at me.

  • Kelly Chataine

    Yes, be thou my vision Lord!

  • Thank you Taylor.
    I’m in a period of transit I suppose. After around 20 years as a missionary in West Africa where I married and gave birth to my children, I now find myself in France. We’ve been here a year now, and I know very well that this is what God has for us in this season. But I’m working full time in an online web shop and it’s not really improving the world around me. In Africa I was in involved in kids work and teaching teenage girls. I felt I contributed to a bigger plan. Though I know I’m in the right place, but I’m so busy. Even daily bible readings are a a big challenge. In other words- I don’t keep up with them. At my work I don’t think about God at all. I’m just to busy, or to taken by the work. I don’t follow much what my teenage children are doing. My house is rather messy, haha. And I long for deeper relationships. It’s funny though, working with people half my age, modern and all that, that I sort of got my own place. But I find it hard to live a meaningful life I guess. Both our families in other countries so when it’s hard to be committed. To them, and to the new people we’re with. I feel I have no roots. But I love this hymn and was even singing it’s yesterday. He is my inheritance, whatever it means. I belong to Him first. And He belongs to me, if I can say that.

    • Brandi

      I know you already know this but He is using you right now right where you are. Your job and your home are your mission field right now. How exciting is that! Praying for you and yours.

  • Churchmouse

    “Live above the common level of life.” I can only do this when my vision is the Lord’s. It is ‘common’ to seek out that which I think would be best for me. But when my vision is the Lord’s, I surrender my will to His. Yes. Be Thou my vision.

  • Taylor Martin

    Maya I hear you! I feel like we all struggle through those moments of trying to validate ourselves through our work or performance and when we go invalidated it hurts. I think this was a good reminder to me as well that all I should be in the Lord.

  • Taylor Martin

    I love this hymn, though. The reminder that God can be my dignity, my worth, and my high tower really stuck out. A high tower is where people look for both attacks from enemies and visits from allies. I have been struggling with a career that frankly, most of the time I am sick of, and I dread going into work each day. My colleagues are great, and most of my clients aren’t terrible, but I catch myself wanting to be anywhere else. The act of “trusting God” always sounds so cliche and easy. Do I trust God? Yes, but am I always able to discern what that means exactly? No. Sometimes I wonder if trusting Him, means trusting Him while looking for a new job v. staying where I am. However, being reminded that God is my high tower means he already knows what’s coming and he will sound a warning bell for both enemies and allies. The high tower wasn’t just there to watch what happens, but to give notice of what was coming. I often forget God has that role; He’s not keeping my future a secret or holding it hostage, He will tell what I need to know when the timing is right.

  • Melody Coney

    Trusting Gods guidance wherever He leads me in this next season

  • I can not begin to tell you how much needed and apt this is for me today as I travel to London to visit my mum who was rushed into hospital with suspected sepsis…
    In the quiet of this fright filled morning, uncertain of what I am going towards, Be thou my vision and the words are a light, a balm, a salve to my heart that pounds at every negative thought that comes…
    Be thou my vision, my battle shield, Oh Lord of my heart.. whatever battle I may find, Be thou ever near me, and I with the Lord.. holding fast, looking heavenward.. trusting that whatever befalls, you Lord will be my vision… the ruler of my heart, mind and soul.. the giver of my wisdom to say and ask the right things..

    High King of heaven, my victory won,
    may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun!
    Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
    still be my vision, O Ruler of all…. I will sing over my mother … as I hold her hand and pray..
    Lord, Be thou my vision.. whatever befalls…
    Be thou my vision…
    Thank you Lord God for everything… thank you..

    Love wrapped hugs being sent your way my sister’s… every blessing for a great and God blessed day…xxx

    • ~ B ~

      I’m so sorry to hear this Tina! I will be prayerful over your Mom, over you. What an appropriate Hymn for you to carry as you go! Praying God’s comfort today and those ahead! Love you T!

    • Candacejo

      Praying specifically this morning for your mother and for perfect peace for you and your family, Tina. God is with you!! ♥️

    • Pat

      Praying for your mother and for you! May God protect and wrap you both in his loving arms!

    • Pam

      Praying for you and your mum Tina

    • Alexis

      Praying for you and your mum Tina! <3

    • Kimberly

      It’s already mid afternoon there as I read your post this morning, but I’m praying the words of this hymn over you, your mom, and your family Tina! May grace and peace be yours as you trust in your mighty savior. Love wrapped hugs sent right back to you sweet Tina!!

    • Dorothy

      Tina prayers are being sent your way. Sepsis can be helped with antibiotics and now days they have so many good antibiotics I’m sure she will be back on her feet sooner than you think.
      God bless you and your family

    • SusanB

      Praying for your mum, Tina!

  • Erin Clark

    This was just what I needed to hear, and exactly what God’s been reminding me. After some kind words from an old friend to soothe and validate my aching heart, this is the reading for the day. Remembering to trust God even when I don’t see His plan, or when it doesn’t align with what I had in mind. He has always provided. His ways are always better than my plan. Trust. In. Him! I pray for all who are like me and struggle with this!

  • Amen and thank you, Father God and Savior, Jesus.

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