Day 3

Be Thou My Vision

from the Hymns III reading plan


Jeremiah 9:23-24, Matthew 6:21, Romans 8:14-17, 2 Corinthians 3:16-18, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

BY Guest Writer


Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.

This morning I set out to ride my bike in the pouring rain. I’m training for my mid-life crisis triathlon. It’s a mini-triathlon, really; 400 meter swim, 14 mile bike ride, and 3 mile run. Nevertheless, it exhausts me to type that much physical activity, much less train for it. I figured if I’m heading over the hill this year, I might as well try to swim, bike and run over it.

The rain was cold and exhilarating this morning, waking me with each drop. There was a sweet smell of honeysuckle in the air, hinting towards eternity, and a small waterfall was forming off the front of my bike helmet making it hard for me to see. It reminded me of when my eye doctor prescribed my coke bottle-sized glasses when I was in the 3rd grade. I was nearsighted—like today, I could only see the road near me. Everything off in the distance was just a blur.

There’s something about training for a race that makes you think in terms of distance, focusing on the end goal. You begin to calculate the miles, getting so caught up in your vision of the finish line that you miss the beauty around you on the journey.

During my rainy bike ride it dawned on me: too often I think of God in the distance, like a far-off God in the sky, listening to my lowly prayers from high above. Imagining Him this way causes me to create false rules in an effort to get His attention—if I get on my knees will He incline His ear to hear me? if I’m good enough, will He draw closer to me?—all the while forgetting that He promised to be near from the moment I gave my life to Him. In John 14:23, Jesus says, “My father will love him and we will come and make our home in him.” He says of His Spirit a few verses earlier, “But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you” (Jn 14:17).

So, the Holy Spirit is ALREADY in me when I pray? It is gospel truth, and it’s no less true just because it’s sometimes hard for us to believe.

Our God is always near to us, even when our vision is unclear. I could feel the Lord nudging me awake to His closeness as I rode my bike through the park. He was leading me to green pastures and open spaces. He was wooing me with cool raindrops falling upon my skin, with the rhythmic sounds of water and my own breathing. My Savior was beckoning me with a green, glowing landscape and the sweet smell of honeysuckle, and the combination resonated deep within me. The smells and sounds and scenery were intimate, just like Jesus—His very name, Emmanuel, meaning “God with us.”

As this truth sunk in and I began to see God as near, because He always is, I began to smile and sing. Yes, I sang out loud, and yes, some more serious cyclists dressed in better attire than me heard, but I kept singing nonetheless: Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my HEART.

Friends, it begins here, with the heart—the intimate place, the wellspring, the place we store up treasure. It is here in our hearts that we see God with the nearsighted vision that is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and it’s here that I began to sing that hymn differently. I sang it to my heart instead of to the sky, as I pedaled onward in the rain.

____

Mandy Mann lives with her hubby, Kevin, and their two boys in Nashville, Tennessee. A lover of Jesus, Mandy’s favorite things are the ones that beckon her closer to Him—Scripture, singing and songwriting, photography, the great outdoors, and drawing laughter out of those she loves. Overseas, you might hear Mandy’s songs played on various commercials. Stateside, she is working on new music and enjoying her time as a stay-at-home mama.  

Be Thou My Vision
attributed to Dal­lan For­gaill, 8th cent.
translated by Mary E. Bryne, 1905

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, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r 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,
High King 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, whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

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Post Comments (166)

166 thoughts on "Be Thou My Vision"

  1. Tonya says:

    One of my favorites…

  2. Rebecca says:

    Thank you precious Mandy! I needed this today and everyday. I can count on Him to be near, He did make that promise to me. he is faithful , that I am sure of.
    Love you,
    Rebecca

  3. Ellie says:

    Lovely.

  4. Hannah says:

    Every day, I can read this and connect with it.

  5. Aryanna Duhl says:

    Sometimes in getting into that mindset that I have to pray to God at a certain place and in a certain position for him to draw near to me, I find myself making excuses for not giving time to Him! By creating the false idea that God is only with me sometimes and in certain circumstances, I can excuse myself from having pray with him all day long…but when I am confident that God is near to me always as He has promised, I can pray without ceasing and He can be my vision always.

    1. Bglosser says:

      Yes!!

      1. Rosalinda says:

        At last, sooemne comes up with the “right” answer!

  6. Heather says:

    Song!

  7. Heather says:

    Wow this son is so beautiful

  8. Linda Beth says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately on how to stop striving so much and start resting in the Lord. I’ve had a relationship loss this last year and have been in the deepest mourning I’ve experience. God has been ever-present through it all and has taught me his love and grace through it. But as I open up to a world with new relationship possibilities, I’m struggling with focusing on needing a worldly relationship and trying to sit in intimate connection with God and trying to allow him only to hold my affections. This is more difficult than I imagined so I appreciate the reminder that God isn’t this far away sovereignty but that he is so intimately connected to us that he is dwelling in our hearts. Thank you for the reminder!

    1. Hannah says:

      Linda Beth, I’m in the same situation as you and always find it encouraging to hear someone else’s testimony that I can relate to.

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