“I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord; no tender voice like thine can peace afford.”
(Annie Hawks 1872)
The things that wake us up to our need for God are not always obvious—but fear is often involved. We may be afraid of dying or losing a loved one. Or we may see our security slipping away with the loss of a job or a home. Whatever the need appears to be on the outside, what we really need on the inside is God. That was true for me, particularly, when I feared abandonment.
For almost two decades, I’d been haunted by a recurring dream that I would once again be alone. And my first husband did drive off one day, leaving me in a large city with a low-paying job—far from friends or family. Interestingly, when that happened, the reality of actually being abandoned made the dream stop. It was unnecessary, I guess.
I think the disciples worried about abandonment as well. They couldn’t imagine life without their friend and teacher, their messiah. And yet, Jesus was telling them that he was going to “go away,” going to be “leaving the world” (John 14:28; 16:28). He also told them something else they likely didn’t understand—that it would be to their “advantage” when that happened (NASB 16:7). And yet, what they learned after Christ’s resurrection and ascension, after the return of Jesus’ Spirit at Pentecost, was that it was to their advantage. In that way, the Lord would always be present with them, wherever they went.
And Christ is always present with us as well. During my lonely time, it wasn’t Bible reading or doctrinal believing or some supportive prayer group that pushed back my fear and isolation. My one enduring comfort and peace was the Lord himself, his companioning presence. And so most mornings since that time I sing along with Annie Hawks: “I need thee, O I need thee, every hour I need thee! O bless me now, my Savior—I come to thee.”