Rock of Ages
By Virginia Brandt Berg
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The living God, our Father God, stands behind His Word with His love and His mercy, His truth and His power, and you just have such a yearning to let people know that, you just want to give more and more as the years go by. For you have learned that there isn’t any real joy anywhere except in being right with God and in fellowship with Jesus Christ. And there is nothing in all the world so satisfying as serving Him and seeing lives transformed through His power.
If you want to have real joy, just tell the good story of His love and His mercy and healing power to someone, and see their life transformed. Then true joy will fill your heart! It’s like the song we used to sing:
Sweet Savior mine, so full, so free,
Thy pardoning love has been to me;
Were I possessed of boundless store,
My heart would long to yield Thee more.
The world is naught apart from Thee,
Sweet Savior mine,
And crusts are kingly fare for me
Since I am Thine.
My life, my all to Thee I give,
Sweet Savior mine, for Thee to live;
Can I withhold the trifling deed, the paltry gold?
Oh no, Lord, at Thy feet I fall,
Sweet Savior mine, I give Thee all.
And that’s the cry of your heart. As you learn to know Him better, you long to give more and more as the years go by, because there’s such joy in the Christian walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. More and more you love His Word. These verses from the psalmist, I would say they are my testimony. Listen to them, troubled one, as we read them. If you’re discouraged or you’re sick in body or weary in soul, take these verses for yourself. Listen carefully. God speaks to you through them:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an host should encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war should rise up against me, in this will I be confident. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.”2 And that rock is Christ Jesus!
I love all these old songs. Some of the new ones are beautiful, but these old gospel songs we learned in childhood are so precious to our hearts.
Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee;
Let the water and the blood
From thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.
—But the thought I wanted to bring from this you find in the second verse:
Could my tears forever flow,
Could my zeal no languor know,
These for sin could not atone.
Thou must save, and thou alone,
In my hand no price I bring
Simply to thy cross I cling.
—A. M. Toplady3
That’s the way you have to come for salvation; that’s the way you have to come for healing. If you are sick in body or if you are suffering, the Lord will do for you just what He did for me. Oh, how I remember that day; it still throbs my heart, the thrill of it all! How He answered prayer and so marvelously healed my body.
They tried to tell me that the Lord doesn’t do that today, that that power manifested then was just to usher in His ministry and to open the gospel dispensation. But He’s doing it just the same today, and you come to Him the very same way. If your tears could ever flow and your zeal never languor know, that couldn’t bring you this from the Lord.
You just come through the Rock of Ages. You come through the price that Jesus paid—simply to the cross you cling, that’s all. With your heart right with God and your sins washed away in the blood of Calvary, you can come to Him, and He’s so willing.
He said He was wounded for your transgressions. He was bruised for your iniquities. The chastisement of your peace was upon Him, and yet He says in that very same passage, by His stripes we are healed.4
Then you find in the 103rd Psalm the little word I want to impress in closing here, and it’s the word “all.” He said: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases.”5 That includes the very thing that you have right now, I don’t care what it is. He said all and God means all!
Then there’s another very wonderful “all.” He says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.”6 I don’t care what your trouble is right now or what that suffering is, just take that little word right there, that “all.” “He delivereth them out of them all,” and that includes that trouble right now, or that sickness, that suffering, that affliction. “He delivereth them out of them all.”
Oh, this unchanging Christ! If you’ll just confess your faults, as it says in James 5:16, “Pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one availeth much.”
God bless and help you and give you the faith, strengthen your faith, to reach out and touch Him today. Amen! He’s still on the throne, and prayer does surely change things.
From a transcript of a Meditation Moments broadcast, adapted.
Published on Anchor October 2017. Read by Debra Lee.
1 “Sweet Savior Mine,” by Palmer Hartsough (1844–1932).
2 Psalm 27:1, 3, 5.
3 Adapted from “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me,” by A. M. Toplady (1740–1778).
4 Isaiah 53:5.
5 Psalm 103:2–3.
6 Psalm 34:19.