That’s “Our church”

Last Thursday we had to place our eighteen year old son in a psychiatric hospital in Houston for the second time in the last year. Needless to say, our hearts are broken, and we are praying that God will give us some answers to learn how to help him. Because this next week will be filled with meetings with diagnosticians, psychiatrists, and therapists, I took a much needed week off. Whenever we are home on a Sunday and I have no “church responsibilities” the question always arises, “Where shall we go to church?” I was thinking about just going to church in Sour Lake before we headed to Houston to see our son. However, my wife said, “We need to go to RPC (Reformed Presbyterian Church)!” She continued, “That is our church (‘our,’ in terms of being a part, not in terms of ownership); I need to be with those people; I need to hear what comes from that pulpit; we have made vows to God and we need to be there.” [I always hate it when she is right…]

So we went. I heard a message from God’s Word about the power of God to answer prayer from Joshua, chapter 10, I was encouraged by many of my brothers and sisters in Christ who reminded me that they were praying for us, and we sang songs of praise that I needed to sing even though it was somewhat of a “sacrifice of praise” for me because of the emotions that I was experiencing. All of that went hand in hand with a hymn that I read early this morning while everyone else was getting dressed for worship by John Newton (Yes, that John Newton. “Amazing Grace” is not the only hymn he wrote). It is entitled, How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds.”

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary rest.

Dear Name! the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and hiding place,
My never-failing Treasury filled
With boundless stores of grace;

Jesus, my Shepherd, Brother, Friend,
My Prophet, Priest, and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see thee as thou art,
I’ll praise thee as I ought.

Till then I would thy love proclaim
With ev’ry fleeting breath;
And may the music of thy Name
Refresh my soul in death.

The fifth stanza particularly spoke to me when Newton cried out, “Weak is the effort of my heart, And cold my warmest thought; But when I see Thee as Thou art, I’ll praise Thee as I ought.” Although my heart is weak, it is good to know that He is strong. His grace will always be sufficient and will enable me to “praise [Him] as I ought.”

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