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 (73)

73 thoughts on "Abide with Me"

  1. Clara Cabrera says:

    Thank you for introducing me to this beautiful hymn. After reading this devotional, I listened to Audrey Assad’s version and all my aches and fears faded away in the moment. I felt God’s warm presence in this season where I’ve been feeling lost. My heart is renewed. Amen ❣️

  2. Nedja Wallace says:

    Sara Groves has a beautiful version of this hymn on her 2017 album and I just love it! I am so thankful for this devotion and app that it reminds me that God knows very much and cares very much about how I am feeling and what I’m going through. May all who read these words and verses abide in Him and He in us today!

  3. Moriah says:

    I am reading this on 9/11– always an emotional day, and it is easy to question God’s plan in the face of such great tragedy. This is a beautiful reminder that He is our hope in this dark and broken world. When this life is painful and seems to be too much to bear, we have help and comfort in our Savior. The darkness will not win, for He has already overcome it!
    Where, indeed, is death’s sting? Where is the grave’s victory? Our triumph is in Christ, who is with us always.

  4. Dawn says:

    My father went home after serving our Lord for 56 years. He was a father, husband, pastor, missionary, carpenter and loved people with all his heart.
    The last 8 months of his life were so very difficult for us all. Today marks a year from the day we found out he was on his way to ‘glory’, as he would put it.
    As I read todays devotional and listened to this beautiful hymn I imagined my dad singing and seeing his eyes light up with the promise of his longed for permanent home.
    I am so blessed to have had him for my father and beyond blessed to have had him as a dad who turned my heart and mind toward Christ at a young age.
    Thank you for this devotional! God bless

  5. Jessica Watt says:

    I’ve never heard this one and oh my goodness it will be my daily one too. Wow wow wow. Praise the Lord!

  6. Margaret Mweru says:

    Going through a season in my life where this scripture really speaks to my soul. Abide with me Lord.

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