Hymn Struggles: Mercy Drops

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Recently I wrote an article about my frustration with a phrase in a familiar hymn being used in a modern worship song: He Never Has Failed Me YET.

My dislike stems from what appears to be the implication that while God hasn’t failed the believer in the past, he still might.

Ugh! He hasn’t and he won’t. Period.

Another hymn came to mind which I believe leads believers into an unhealthy relationship with God. You might be familiar with the gospel hymn, “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing.”

I like the thought. I want to get all wet in the downspout of God’s grace and mercy. My problem with the song is that it sounds like a petulant, ungrateful three year old is singing.

The chorus goes like this:

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy-drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

Mercy-drops round us are falling, but that’s not enough, God. We want more. Super-soak us. Saturation is what we want.

On a daily basis, however, God sends his mercy-drops. They’re all around. They are new every morning. They are timely. They are refreshing. They are God’s provision.

Are we even aware? Do we thank God?

I will confess, I prefer “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” to “Showers of Blessing.” The chorus has a much different feel:

Great Is Thy faithfulness, Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me!

The truth of these words comes straight from scripture: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’ (Lamentations 3:22-24, NIV).”

Some might argue we do face times when life leaves us parched and we need God to pour out his grace and mercy in tsunami waves on dry and weary souls.

I agree. I’ve been there.

Those times, thankfully, don’t come every day. But God’s mercies do. And they don’t always come as flash floods. No, there as gentle as the morning dew, and refreshing to our spirit.

Don’t miss the mercy while you plead for the drenching.

 

 

Delete the Yet.

Words are my life. If I’m not speaking/teaching with them, I’m either writing them or playing games with them. Consequently, I find myself doing a lot of self-editing to make sure my message is clear.

Editing sometimes involves correcting punctuation. Putting a comma in the right place can make all the difference in the meaning of a statement. For example, which is better: I like cooking my family and my pets; or I like cooking, my family, and my pets. Or: Let’s eat grandma; or Let’s eat, grandma.

Using words or deleting them can change the meaning being conveyed. I would like to suggest an editing correction to an old hymn that has been recently updated, and is currently playing on Christian radio.

In one of the previous churches I attended we often had hymn sings, times when the people would call out the hymnal number or title of their favorite hymn. I would cringe when I heard someone request number 443, “He Never Has Failed Me Yet.”

Yet.

And now a whole new generation of believers is hearing this disappointing musical theology.

I can almost imagine your confused looks as you read my concern. Am I majoring in minor things and making mountains out of molehills? I don’t think so. This simple three-letter word injects an enormous dose of doubt into our faith in God. Simply put: while affirming God’s got a pretty good track record so far, we’re not sure about the future. Including the “yet: implies there’s still potential for God to not come through—and that’s not possible!

Sure, we can all point to times when we didn’t get what we wanted: a job, health, money, or the miracle to save the day. But that doesn’t mean God failed. 

Tucked in Jeremiah is a verse often quoted, worn on t-shirts, or slapped on mugs. The people were in an unbelievably difficult situation—one they’d never chosen…but God did. His message: “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).” 

God has plans for you, good plans. He will not fail.

Paul, understood this, too. While in prison (talk about a situation that could seem like a God-fail), he wrote: “We know God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28, NLT).” Not everything will seem good, but God can make them work together for good. Like Jeremiah said, for His plans and purpose.

I’m not suggesting we take a marker and start crossing out all the “yets” in the hymnal, but I do believe we need to edit that kind of thinking our of our faith and our living. Drop the yet, and put a period there.

He never has failed me. And He never will.

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