Day 3

Abide with Me

from the Hymns of Hope reading plan

John 15:1-8, 1 John 3:18-24, Numbers 23:19, 1 Corinthians 15:50-58  

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: John 15:1-8, 1 John 3:18-24, Numbers 23:19, 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

The hymn “Abide with Me” is my funeral song. It is the song that, after what I hope is a very long and sweet life, I want sung by my people when I’ve gone to glory.

It is also my living song, one that I have turned to in so many seasons. I sang it for months on end after my beloved grandmother died, as I wandered lost through the fog of grief for the first time. I sang it when my husband and I moved away from our first home, when I wrestled with deep fears and ached for community. I sang it when our best friends’ baby died. I sang it when I, eight months pregnant with a broken body and weary mind, paced for hours on end in the middle of the night, awaiting our sweet girl’s arrival.

Fear, death, paralyzing anxiety—these are the things I’ve carried my whole adult life. But this song reminds me that I don’t have to carry them. When I ask for the Lord’s presence to be near, He reminds me that He’s always with me, that He’ll never leave me.  

I am hardly the first person to associate this hymn with death, nor will I be the last. When he wrote the text, Henry Francis Lyte was dying of tuberculosis. It is rumored to have been played by the band on the Titanic after it struck the fatal iceberg. It was played at Mother Teresa’s funeral, and at Richard Nixon’s too. It was played at Ground Zero after 9/11. Joyfully, it was also played at Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s wedding.

I love this hymn so much, I could write a dissertation on every line. I love it so much because it reminds me—it floods me—with the goodness, faithfulness, kindness, and trueness of God.

In Luke 24, Jesus appears to His disciples after the resurrection. They don’t yet recognize Him when they ask Him to stay with them, because the night is falling. Thus begins the first stanza of the hymn—Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.

When I hear this hymn, I am drawn to reflect on what it says specifically about who God is: He helps the helpless, and He changes not. He is my guide and my strength, and His grace alone foils Satan’s power. This song also declares that all earthly helpers and comforts will surely fail and fade under the harsh light of sin; change and decay are the norm here in a fallen world. But most importantly, when I listen to this hymn, I am reminded of my only hope, my only comfort in both life and death—Jesus. I need Him every hour.

This song knits together lament and hope, the way every day of this Christian life does. I ache, and I rejoice. I long, yet I live in abundance. I weep, and I laugh. I will die, but I will also live forever because of Jesus.

Abide with me, Lord—these are the words Henry Lyte penned before he died.
Abide with me, the disciples asked, before they even knew He was already there.
Abide with me, we ask, we pray, we sing.

Abide with Me
Text: Henry Francis Lyte, 1847
Tune: William H. Monk, 1861

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see.
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and strength can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.

I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless,
ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes.
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.


Melanie Rainer is a bookworm from birth who makes her days writing, editing and reading in Nashville, where she also joyfully serves as the editor of Kids Read Truth. She has an M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary, spends as much time as she can in the kitchen, and can’t wait until her two daughters are old enough to read Anne of Green Gables.

Post Comments (72)

72 thoughts on "Abide with Me"

  1. Molly Gilbane says:

    Lord thank you for remaining near in times of joy and in times of trouble. Thank you for allowing us to abide in You— to find safety and shelter in your presence. Thank you for remaining with me every step of the way. Thank you for remaining steadfast— “oh thou who changest not” throughout the years. For keeping Your word and remaining true. You alone are enough.

  2. Rachel Tang says:

    I have never heard of this hymn until this devotional. In the midst of my anxieties and the daily stresses of life, the message of this hymn is so comforting and such a good reminder that I need to trust in God. The negative parts of life on earth are nothing compared to the power of God. I mean, DEATH has been swallowed up by victory and my troubles are nothing compared to that!!!

  3. Jennifer Wood says:

    Anxiety can be so overwhelming. It’s no easy thing to abide in You. Fear, desires of a sinful heart and striving pull me every which way. Sometimes, I feel completely paralyzed by my fear of what could happen. Sometimes, I can’t act in love because I don’t even know for sure what the loving thing to do is anymore. Lord, hold me and work in me beyond myself. Reach me far beyond my ability to reach out for you. Apart from you, I can do nothing.

    1. v says:

      Lord be with Jennifer Wood, in your presence fear is silent because you wear the victors crown! the desires of her heart maybe sinful , but you are the healer and you are greater and you are stronger! Lord I pray she trusts you when something pulls her. Lord I too have struggled. I thank you for her honesty has encouraged me.

  4. Daria Turner says:

    1 Corinthians 15:58

    1. Maria Whitfield says:

      I highlighted the same scripture … such a simple, yet powerful direction … LOVE this.

  5. Jeanette Anderson says:

    My favourite. I have such blissful memories of singing this in college choir.

  6. Monica Vargo says:

    I love this hymn. Here’s a version that I listen to often:

  7. Kiana Johnson says:

    I love the reminder that I must abide in my Savior. I must lean on him for everything. If I don’t, it’s possible that nothing I hope for in this life will come to pass. In this season of wonder and wandering and feeling a little lost, when I ask for stillness, peace, and stability, he will provide that to me when I abide in him. “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

  8. Christina Currano says:

    I needed this hymn today. I need to remember to ask God to abide with me daily. As I navigate through a life different from the one I planned. My divorce was finalized last month, I worry I will never have a family of my own but then I hear this and know that as long as I remain in him my life is already full.

    1. DebRN says:

      Courage dear heart. It’s my favorite saying from C. S. Lewis. Your sorrow is shared. You are so loved.

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