Abide With Me

Friday, January 31, 2014
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Abide With Me"1 (Lyrics)

A friend of ours at the Meaford Long Term Care Centre died on December 28th, 2013. She was 105 years old.

We got to know her through our involvement at the MLTCC over the years. She was an amazing woman with an unbelievable memory. I knew her best from the Bible discussions that I lead there twice a month and from personal visits. At the hymn sing that my wife leads twice a month, Edna always asked for the hymn Abide With Me as one of the hymns to be sung.

This hymn, according to the information I have, is based on the story of the two men on the way home to Emmaus, talking about the fact that Jesus had been crucified and buried. And while they were talking, Jesus joined them and explained the Scriptures to them.

Luke 24:28-31 – Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." And he went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. (NKJV)

Over the years, Edna told me a lot about her life. She was born in England on June 21, 1908. Her father was killed during the First World War. Her first child died in his crib, and in 1929, she and her husband came to Canada. But during the Great Depression, they were unable to get work, but they managed to get back to England, where they stayed until after the Second World War. They then returned to Canada. Her only daughter died of cancer while only in her forties, and her husband died in 1986. When she started to lose her sight, she was unable to care for herself any more, and she spent the last years of her life at the MLTCC.

At the Bible discussions, she always contributed some very astute statements. She knew her Bible, and she had such a practical outlook on her faith, which had sustained her during the difficult times of her life. Actually, I learned more from her than she did from me! I always end my Bible discussions by reading or reciting a hymn which suits the passage we looked at, and almost always, she would recite the hymn with me, word for word — unbelievable! We very often talked after the Bible discussions, and she told me so many things: the hardships they had endured, the joy of the birth of her children, and the death of two of them. She told me that she got such comfort from the knowledge that Christ was with her each step of her at-times-difficult life, and that she always prayed that He would abide with her always, during the good as well as the bad times. The third verse of this well-known hymn expresses her attitude so well:

    I need Thy presence every passing hour;
    What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
    Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
    Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.
           – Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847)

The knowledge that God will never leave us or forsake us is vital to carrying us through the hardships of life.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You for being with us through all the difficult times in our lives, as well as through the good ones. We thank You for people who make us aware that You are with us and that You will abide with us always. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Joel Jongkind <austria67@bmts.com>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Wonderful reminder Joel.

    Beautiful Joel. Thank you.

    Thank you Joel. Blessings.

    I very much enjoyed your devotional Joel. Thank you.

    My neighbor just lost his wife after 50 years of marriage. “Abide With Me” was special to him so I printed this devotional out and will take it over to him.

    Dear Joel,
    Thank you for the story of a person who lived her long life well in faith in her Lord. It is good to remember her beloved hymn “Abide with me.”
    Keep writing.

    Thank you for todays Devotional. Like yourself, I also have a name based on Hebrew. I am a bit like the woman you mentioned. I love hymns, and have written some. For more than a decade, I have sung 3 hymns from the Book of Praise every day.

    Thanks so much! When I was in Elementary school in Gainesboro Township (over 3/4 of a century ago!) we always sang the first verse of Abide With Me at the closing of school for the day.
    Now, as a clergyman, I often suggest using it as a hymn at the funeral or memorial service for an elderly person, and the family usually agrees.
    Thanks so much.

    Dear Rev. Jongkind,
    Thank you for this special devotional. It touches me deeply. I lost my eldest daughter several years ago, and another daughter very recently. Were it not for Christ in my life, I would be completely lost. My grandmother lived to be over 100 years. She was, and still is, a source of inspiration for me. She, too, was pre-deceased by two children. I know it was her faith that sustained her.
    When I visited them as a child, we had Bible readings every evening after supper. I would check the church guide, then mark the reading for Grandpa to read to us. I shall never forget sitting at his feet while he read.
    Again, many thanks, and God bless you and your dear wife for the wonderful work you are doing. Our church has hymn sings and/or chapel services at two long term care homes every month. It is my honour to play the music for those.

    Thank you for telling us about this wonderful life in the Lord.

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