Eternal Lord, who reigned
Before all of creation was formed;
When it was all made by His desire,
His name was called King.
After everything ends
He will reign alone, awesome.
He was, He is,
and He will be, in glory.
He is the only one: there is no second
To compare or associate with Him.
Without beginning, without end,
the strength and the sovereignty are His.
And He is my God and my living redeemer,
The rock of my sorrow in a time of distress;
He is my banner and a refuge for me,
The portion of my cup in the day I call.
I entrust my spirit into His hand
When I sleep, and I awake,
And my body is with my spirit;
The Lord is with me and I will not fear.
Sometimes we know God’s blessing like a gift, like a word or a touch of closeness. Other times we feel the distance, in moments of confusion, grief, or loneliness. The words of this hymn have been prayed and sung by people on many different days of their lives, in many times and places, and they remind me what it is that we cling onto.
One way in which we know God is through His actions around us in creation, and these experiences are complex and diverse. His wisdom can’t be completely searched out, though we can sense and know so many facets of it. But beside this, in the deepest place, we also have a spirit to spirit relationship with Him. The experience of knowing Him, belonging to Him, being wholly dependent on Him, is simple; it’s beyond words or form or metaphors. It may be filled with many different, real experiences and responses, but on a deep relational level we have a direct knowledge of Him. The two are intertwined in us; these things are very practical.
If we could look below the human element of religion, community, hope, and worship, or before the existence of every moment and every thing, we wouldn’t find nothingness. The one who stands alone outside all of creation, whose very self is beyond our ability to imagine or our right to peer into, is not distant nonetheless. He is with us, He is our home here. We can give ourselves back into His hand on every day He gives to us in life, until the last.