Day 9

Be Thou My Vision

from the Hymns of Hope reading plan

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

BY Guest Writer

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.

Post Comments (74)

74 thoughts on "Be Thou My Vision"

  1. Kelly Patterson says:

    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.

  2. Alexandra Finocchio says:

    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.

    1. Praying for you says:

      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.

    2. Kayla LMc says:

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

    3. Ashley Bell says:

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

  3. Elise Davis says:

    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!

  4. Amanda says:

    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.

    1. Anna Simpson says:

      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.

  5. Angelina Hansen says:

    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

    1. Anna Simpson says:

      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!!

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