What’s So Sweet About It?

One of the pivotal moments in my wall with Jesus took place in a church building in South London. It happened almost 20 years ago. The place was old and the inside was typically cold. Not many of us were gathered and that gave the place a sparse look about it all the more. Nevertheless we few got on with some words of encouragement and a few songs.

A hymn was selected that we sung. I had heard the hymn before and sung it umpteen times. But not on this occasion. The song was being sung, but not by me. I was paying attention to a narrative that described me to the tee.

I’m tired of sin, footsore and weary, The darksome path hath dreary grown, But now a light has ris’n to cheer me; I find in Thee my Star, my Sun.

Sweet will of God, still fold me closer, Till I am wholly lost in Thee;

It’s worth reflecting on the rest of the narrative in the song. It outlined an aspiration I had never taken as seriously as I did then. A desire to know God so deeply and so intimately that everything about me would only shine and declare Him. I cannot do justice in words to how transformative that experience in that dusty, cold structure was. Words were deep, God was more real to me than He had ever been. Tears flowed without inhibition as the encounter with the risen Saviour and Redeemer gave me a new lease of life.

Almost 20 years later, reflecting on that makes me applaud the goodness of God. It also made me stop and question God.

“What’s so sweet about it?”

Another song that came to mind was a golden oldie that declared The Longer I Serve Him, The Sweeter He Grows. I love hearing the song, it’s a real treasure. Yet, I looked on over 20 years of walking with Jesus and asked the question again.

“What’s so sweet about it?”

How is it sweeter now than it was in those heady days of loving Jesus and wanting to do His will with a seemingly unquenchable fire and zeal? If I based this on observation, it appeared that the longer you served, the more beleaguered you got. The more you got used to routine and the status quo. Indeed it appeared in some people’s case the longer you served Him the more cranky, tired and bitter you became.

“What’s so sweet about it?”

The answer came very helpfully from the sort of person who made it his business to consciously only sing songs he meant, not just because others were singing it or because the vibe was good. He reminded me to consider the one we serve.

Consider Jesus and consider Him deeply. Consider the invitation to travel from darkness to light as He leads. Consider He who knew no sin taking on sin so that we could be truly right in the sight of our Creator and Father. Consider Him who walks with us in our struggles and pains and can bear with us because He endured and overcame. Consider Him – gaze upon Him, rest in Him, grow in knowing Him, believe Him as He reveals Himself to you and see that serving Him is only possible because He gives strength, vision, joy and hope.

Doing that is no one off thing. Doing that properly is an all encompassing activity involving all of life. Jesus is considered in fighting injustice, Jesus is considered in enjoying recreational events. Jesus is considered at home, on journeys, in shopping, in paying bills, in grieving over lost loved ones, in celebrating the birth of newborn loved ones, in painting the kitchen, in ironing the trousers, in walking to work, in struggling with temptation, in having a good Thursday.

When considered in this light and appreciating that the consideration is a relational one ever growing in knowing, and that knowing brings greater light and joy even in times of confusion and despair. That consideration begins to explain why the will is sweet. It starts the path of exploring why genuinely serving Him gets sweeter as you do it more.

It’s a start. Of course to find out more is to actually accept His invitation for yourself.

For His Name’s Sake


C. L. J. Dryden


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