Dark and cheerless is the morn unaccompanied by Thee; joyless is the day’s return till Thy mercy’s beams I see; till they inward light impart, glad my eyes, and warm my heart. (Charles Wesley 1740)
The word unaccompanied appears in most versions of Wesley’s second verse. But I did discover an older version of the hymn decades ago where the word unaccompanied is replaced with uncompanioned. How wonderful and needed that friendlier image was to me at the time. My moments of conversion had been preceded by months of depression and feelings of abandonment. There was no joy in my heart.
But the Lord’s comforting companionship changed all of that. Suddenly I would catch myself humming a melody or laughing at a television show. My step got lighter. And each morning, when the “dark” and the “cheerless” would try to push in, the Lord himself was always there, imparting the “inward light” that brought the gladness back to my eyes and the warmth to my heart.
Recently, I was checking translations of a Bible verse for the adult Sunday school class at church. The King James Version of Jesus’ words reads: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
I’ve always liked the word Comforter better than the Advocate or Helper of other translations. Today, however, I found that the Common English Bible translated this same word as “Companion.” And a little further research showed that the Greek word being translated does include the idea of “consoler.” To be comfortless is to be alone and isolated. And so it is the comfort and consolation of a companion that our loving Lord gives us. I like that!
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