BY ELDER LOW TUT CHOON
It is a thing most wonderful,
Almost too wonderful to be;
That God’s own Son should come from heaven, And die to save a child like me.
And yet I know that it is true:
He chose a poor and humble lot,
And wept, and toiled, and mourned, and died, For love of those who loved Him not.
I cannot tell how He could love
A child so weak and full of sin;
His love must be most wonderful, If He could die my love to win.
I sometimes think about His cross,
And shut my eyes, and try to see
The cruel nails, and crown of thorns, And Jesus crucified for me.
But even could I see Him die,
I could but see a little part
Of that great love which, like a fire, Is always burning in His heart.
It is most wonderful to know
His love for me so free and sure;
But ‘tis more wonderful to see My love for Him so faint and poor.
And yet I want to love Thee, Lord:
O light the flame within my heart,
And I will love Thee more and more Until I see Thee as Thou art.
William Walsham How (1821 – 97)
I first learnt this hymn 20 years ago. Hearing and singing it for the first time then, evoked within me a deep sense of gratitude to God for His sacrificial love for me. Written by an English pastor 2 centuries ago, it was originally intended for children, but subsequently was incorporated into the adult hymnal. The words and message are simple and personal. It speaks of a love most wonderful – the love of God in Christ Who willingly endured much pain and suffering in order to win over my love for Him. I will never be able to repay this redeeming love, for I am weak and sinful and my love faint and poor, and yet He continues to love me so. How I need Him to help me love Him more and more each day, right through eternity when I will see Him face to face.
It was love that bore the pain. Hungry and physically weak, Christ endured and overcame the temptations of Satan. He faced the constant harassment and rejection of the Jews, and foremost, the betrayal of His own close disciples. In the Garden of Gethsemane He agonized in prayer, for the thought of being forsaken by His Father was overwhelming. His sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground, and Luke recorded for us that an angel appeared from heaven, strengthening Him. Through it all, He remained in quiet submission to God the Father, knowing that the way of the cross was painful and difficult. Jesus saved us by dying on the cross, for that was what He primarily came to fulfil. But equally important, He saved us by remaining sinless in the face of great temptations and trials, failing which, death on the Cross for our sins would be impossible and meaningless. The eternal life that He secured for you and me comes at a great price.
As we approach Lent and Good Friday in the coming weeks, may we be thankful to God for His great love in sending His only begotten Son to Calvary’s Cross. Through His death He has paid the penalty of sin, overcome its power and given us the promise of eternal life. This is the most wonderful thing that Jesus has done for you and me.