Saturday, December 31, 2016

An Ever Rolling Stream

Since the hymn has six verses, the fifth one is not one that is always sung.  Somehow, it is that very verse that I have been singing the last few days.  It is an Isaac Watts hymn entitled, "O God, Our Help in Ages Past."  Though written in 1719, the church is still singing it.  The fifth verse begins with the words, "Time, like an ever rolling stream..."  It is not hard to figure out why those words have stuck in my mind like glue.  A long time ago, I stepped into this ever rolling stream and for almost seven decades now, I have been carried forward by it.  The shore has always been there, but for some reason, I have remained surrounded and overwhelmed by the waters of the stream. 

Having been in retirement now for over six years, I find myself more conscious than ever about the time that is flowing around me.   I remember as a young man that time was really not something I thought too much about and while I do not sit around counting the minutes and hours, I am so aware of the precious nature of each day.  Each day is truly a gift.  One of the things I resolved to do when I entered this season of my life was to be more aware of the present moment.  To the degree that I have been successful, my life has been enriched and when I have failed, it has surely been diminished.

Time is a not an enemy to oppose, but a friend who gives valuable blessings.  Those lines Watts wrote about time cause us to sing, "Time, like an ever rolling stream, bears all who breathe away, they fly forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day."  And it is true.  Some who waded through the waters of the stream are no longer with me.  They found their place on the shore.  I miss their presence and wonder why I have been blessed to go forward so long.  Each step forward is taken with thanksgiving as I remember I have not traveled alone and when it does come my time to go to the shore, the Savior will be there waiting for me.  Until then, I wade on with a grateful heart in this ever rolling stream.

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