”Jesus, I am resting, in the joy of what Thou art. I am finding out the measure of Thy loving heart. Thou hast bid’st me gaze upon Thee, and Thy beauty fills my soul, for by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole” (Pigott, Jean; “Jesus, I Am Resting”). This is the first chorus of the famed nineteenth century missionary to China, & founder of the transformative China Inland Mission group, Hudson Taylor. In the face of grief, after losing his beloved wife, having long suffered heavy criticism and isolation, he wrote to his sister in England that these words were his greatest source of comfort. How difficult it is to be still and to rest in the sovereignty and presence of God, when He has allowed the one you most love to leave your side.
I’ve recently made a very personal, and yet public, decision to leave a ten-year career as a public school teacher because of my health. In so doing, I gave up any hope that my life could be easily understood by others looking in from the outside. I’ve been so blessed that there are many family and friends who understand or empathize the intensity of the process I am in, and who have offered me shelter and respite. It feels a bit like I’ve taken a giant leap off a cliff, and mercifully landed on a spacious precipice, but with the vast unknown still before me. I can’t see the next steps, the future is still completely unknown, and yet…it is here, in this place, today, that I must learn to rest. Deuteronomy 33:27 says, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” They seem to echo the following verses of this great hymn, and prompt me to fix my gaze on God alone:
“Simply trusting Thee Lord Jesus, I behold Thee as Thou art,
and Thy love, so pure, so changeless, satisfies my heart.
Satisfies its every longing, meets, supplies, its every need.
Compasseth me round with blessings, Thine is love indeed.
Ever fix my gaze upon Thee, as I work and watch for Thee.
Resting ‘neath Thy smile Lord Jesus, earth’s dark shadows flee.
Sunshine of my Father’s glory, brightness of my Father’s face.
Keep my ever resting, trusting, Fill me with Thy grace.”