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 (76)

76 thoughts on "Be Thou My Vision"

  1. Susan Crosby says:

    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.

    1. Jennifer says:

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

  2. Blythe Hunt says:

    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.

  3. Amanda Armstrong says:


  4. Victoria says:

    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.

  5. Lena says:

    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

  6. Sarah D. says:

    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!

    1. Dorothy says:

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

      1. Sarah D. says:

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

  7. Kelly says:

    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.

    1. Kay says:

      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.

  8. Lynn Johnson says:

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

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