Not What My Hands Have Done

In church this morning we sang a great old hymn by Horatius Bonar.  Some people might hear this as a depressing hymn about our powerlessness, but I find it very comforting.  I already know through hard experience that I’m powerless to be good.  I don’t have the will power, or the clarity of purpose, or the love of what’s good and true to pursue virtue with any consistency.  Left to myself, I will never be the sort of person I’m supposed to be.  Since that’s not news to me, I don’t find admitting it at all depressing.

But I always need again to hear that there is grace to carry me where I need to go.  “No strength but that which is divine can bear me safely through,” and that strength is offered.  Therefore, “I rest on love divine.”  Given how messed up the world is, I’m grateful that I don’t need to depend on my own power to resist the darkness.  Given how messed up I am, I’m grateful that I’m not only accepted just as I am; I’m given strength to become something different.  

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About Laura A. Smit

Teaching theology in the academy and the church View all posts by Laura A. Smit

2 responses to “Not What My Hands Have Done

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