O FOR A FAITH THAT WILL NOT SHRINK
William H. Bathurst, 1796–1877
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” (Luke 17:5, 6)
When the world seems at its worst, Christians must be at their best.
Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of faith is to see what we believe.
Discouragement can easily cause our faith to shrink, and we may even at times consider quitting our service for God. Perhaps we have all experienced these sentiments:
I’ve taught a class for many years; borne many burdens, toiled through tears—
But folks don’t notice me a bit, I’m so discouraged, I’ll just quit.
One of the chief characteristics of spiritual maturity is the ability to persevere—even in the face of adversity. God often permits difficulties to come into our lives simply to allow our faith in Him to become stronger. A faith that is never tested and strengthened soon becomes a shrinking one. But if our faith is real, it will stand every test and prove to be an overcoming faith.
This hymn text, which is an exposition of Luke 17:5, is from William Bathurst’s Psalms and Hymns for Public and Private Use. The song was originally titled “The Power of Faith.” The first three stanzas describe a victorious faith amidst some of the most difficult circumstances in life. The final stanza affirms the believer’s desire to have such trust that even now life becomes a foretaste of heaven itself.
William Hiley Bathurst was an Anglican minister who wrote more than 200 hymn texts. The composer of the music, William H. Havergal, the father of Frances Ridley Havergal, was also prominent in the Church of England, as a minister and writer of many hymns.
O for a faith that will not shrink tho pressed by many a foe, that will not tremble on the brink of any earthly woe.
That will not murmur nor complain beneath the chast’ning rod, but in the hour of grief or pain will lean upon its God.
A faith that shines more bright and clear when tempests rage without, that, when in danger, knows no fear, in darkness feels no doubt.
Lord, give me such a faith as this, and then, whate’er may come, I’ll taste e’en now the hallowed bliss of an eternal home.
For Today: Romans 1:17; Galatians 6:9; Ephesians 6:16; 2 Timothy 1:7
Ponder this question—Could I stand to lose everything and still have an implicit faith in God and know with certainty that He is in absolute control? Carry this musical resolve—