Through the night of doubt and sorrow,
onward goes the pilgrim band,
singing songs of expectation,
marching to the promised land.
Clear before us through the darkness
gleams and burns the guiding light;
pilgrim clasps the hand of pilgrim
stepping fearless through the night.
One the light of God's own presence
on the ransomed people shed,
chasing far the gloom and terror,
bright'ning all the path we tread.
One the object of our journey,
one the faith which never tires,
one the earnest looking forward,
one the hope our God inspires.
One the strain that lips of thousands
lift as from the heart of one;
one the conflict, one the peril,
one the march in God begun.
One the gladness of rejoicing
on the far eternal shore,
where the one almighty Father
reigns in love forevermore.
Onward, therefore, sisters, brothers;
onward, with the cross our aid.
Bear its shame, and fight its battle
till we rest beneath its shade.
Soon shall come the great awak'ning;
soon the rending of the tomb!
Then the scatt'ring of all shadows,
and the end of toil and gloom.
Last summer, my family and I were hiking in the Cascade
Mountains of Washington state, headed to a mountain
lake called Hart Lake. A nine-mile round trip, the hike
was beautiful but also challenging, especially for our
12-year-old son Isaac who got easily discouraged by the
annoyances of hiking--mosquitoes, flies and dust. Isaac
complained and dragged his feet most of the hike until
we got to the point where we could see the mountain
stream whose source was Hart Lake, and we knew that
we were getting close to our goal. And then he suddenly
got his second wind and exclaimed, "I've come this far;
I'm not going back now!"
The first verse of our hymn speaks of such a journey--the
journey of the life of faith, which sometimes leads us
"through the night of doubt and sorrow." It would be easy
to get discouraged but for the "guiding light" of "God's
own presence" (verse 2), which encourages us and gives
us the strength to keep going: "I've come this far! I'm not
going back now!"