How Firm a Foundation (ELW 796)
1 How firm a foundation, O saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in Christ Jesus, the Word!
What more can he say than to you he has said
who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?
2 “Fear not, I am with you, oh, be not dismayed,
for I am your God and will still give you aid;
I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand,
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.”
3 “When through fi’ry trials your pathway shall lie,
my grace, all-sufficient, shall be your supply.
The flames shall not hurt you; I only design
your dross to consume and your gold to refine.”
4 “Throughout all their lifetime my people shall prove
my sov’reign, eternal, unchangeable love;
and then, when gray hairs shall their temples adorn,
like lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne.”
You may think I chose this hymn because the final verse mentions gray hair! Rather it is because, like so many hymns of faith, it overflows with the promises of our God of grace. One of my Old Testament professors years ago, who some in class considered somewhat rigid and stern, was actually a person with a warm, shepherding heart. He required us to memorize some Bible verses from Second Isaiah. One of them is echoed in the second verse of this beautiful hymn: “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will help you, I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10). This verse has been valuable to hold in memory over the years. Yes, God is with us. God gives us grace and strength and upholds our lives. Fear, then, must take a back seat!
Dear Lord, stay with us. Displace our fear with your powerful, gracious, and merciful presence. In Jesus Name. Amen.