IN THE HOUR OF TRIAL
James Montgomery, 1771–1854
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up to it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Crisis situations are often the important pivotal points in our lives. Our response to these traumatic times—the loss of a loved one, a change in employment, a mistreatment by a trusted friend—will be the foundation stones upon which our lives are built. Maintaining the glow of our first love for God despite all the stresses of life is a major concern. The third stanza of this hymn teaches so well what our attitude should be when difficulties come our way: A desire to know what God is saying through the experience and a willingness to cast our cares on Him.
This beloved hymn was written by one of England’s foremost hymn writers, James Montgomery. It was first published in 1853 with the title “Prayers on a Pilgrimage.” The text is based on the incident of Peter’s denial of his Lord in the courtyard of the high priest (Mark 14:54, 66–72).
“In the Hour of Trial” also teaches that believers, like Peter, are capable of rebelling and straying from the fellowship of their Lord. The Bible gives this warning: “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12). The antidote to sin’s allurements is the ability to keep our minds centered on Christ and His redemptive work for us. And like Peter, we can have our fellowship with God restored when we return to Him in brokenness and true humility. Peter’s remorse was the start of his spiritual greatness. Like Peter, we must let our pride and self-sufficiency become our Christ confidence if our lives are to count for the Lord.
In the hour of trial, Jesus, plead for me; lest by base denial I depart from Thee: When Thou seest me waver, with a look recall, nor for fear or favor suffer me to fall.
With forbidden pleasures would this vain world charm, or its sordid treasures spread to work me harm; bring to my remembrance sad Gethsemane, or, in darker semblance, cross-crown’d Calvary.
Should Thy mercy send me sorrow, toil, and woe, or should pain attend me on my path below, grant that I may never fail Thy hand to see; grant that I may ever cast my care on Thee.
For Today: Mark 14:54, 66–72; John 16:33; 17:15; Galatians 6:14