This is the power

This mosaic is one of many in the Resurrection Chapel at Washington National Cathedral. Photographed April 2005

This mosaic is one of many in the Resurrection Chapel at Washington National Cathedral.
Photographed April 2005

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.  — Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

Yesterday I wrote of singing to give myself courage and stamina as I drove alone to the hospital late on the night Jeff was first diagnosed and went into emergency surgery.  I sang two songs that night on the relatively short drive that I feared would seem endless when I started out.  Yesterday’s blog talked about the first song.  This song is the second.

Though it’s a fairly recent composition, many beautiful versions have already been recorded.  Here’s one that’s quite unique; I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  If you want to hear only the triumphant final verse quoted above, you can jump to 2:45 into the song.

When I first learned this song several years ago, I thought of Matt whenever we sang that verse.  The words “from life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny” brought to mind my memories of the tiny infant struggling to breathe in the neonatal intensive care unit, who went on to survive more than most of us can imagine.  As he undergoes his fifth and riskiest open heart surgery this week, I expect that I will be silently singing this song to myself more than once through the long hours of waiting.

Since September, when we sing this verse at church now I think also of that dark drive to the hospital, and of Jeff and what he has been through the past 20 months.  Though he and Matt express it differently, both of them continue to live as they always have, in quiet faith that nothing can separate us from God’s love.

For most Christians, Easter reminds us of what we believe every day: that the most important victory of all time has already been won.  Many of us will be singing about that today, finding in God’s promises the “peace that passes understanding.”  I honestly believe the peace on earth we all crave must first begin inside each one of us, not as a passive acquiescence, but as a rock-solid assurance that replaces fear with faith and love.  I wish that peace for everyone who reads these words.  “Hallelujah is our song.”

For a special Easter greeting, click here

Last year on Easter:

Our song

This post was first published on Easter Sunday seven years ago. Less than three years after it first appeared, the beautiful verse quoted above appeared on the Order of Service for Jeff’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.

The post that was published on April 4, 2014, will appear on April 20. The dates were adjusted to allow the Easter weekend posts of 2014 to appear on Easter weekend of 2021. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

6 Comments

  1. Steve C Bodiford

    A prayer for great blessings for you and your family, Julia. I appreciate your daily encouragement and your heart for ministering and sharing yourself. May this day bring your great peace and joy~

    • Hi Steve, thanks so much for your kind comment and I’m sorry it took me so long to catch up. How are you doing? I hope all is well in your world. As mentioned in my reply to Dorothy, it has been an eventful month for me, some good and some bad, but I’m grateful to still be getting through it all, one day at a time. I appreciate your checking in here – it’s always a joy to hear from you.

  2. Hallelujah!
    Happy Easter, Julia!
    Thanks for sharing those links, too. I like the acapella “In Christ Alone.”

    • Yes, it’s great.

  3. Dorothy

    Hi Julia, today and yesterday’s posts featured two of my favourite songs. Here we are approaching Autumn after a very wet and coolish Summer. A couple of weekends ago in Eastern Australia we had a massive rain event with flooding up the coast. I think some are wondering what comes next as bushfires, COVID and then flooding. However we seem to be on top of the virus but who knows? Hope you and Matt are doing ok. Best wishes Dorothy.

    • Hi Dorothy, how wonderful to hear from you and how sad that it took me a month to get to this comment. I’m on the mend from recent illness and dealing with the unexpected but fortunate (under the circumstances) sale of my York home without my ever even having to list it for sale. A nice family came along and made me an offer too good to pass up, but the ongoing work of cleaning and clearing everything by the upcoming closing date (we were there 17 years!) and doing all this by myself has been exhausting– and probably exacerbated the recurrence of the same illness that landed me in the hospital with a perforated abdominal abscess in spring 2019. Thankfully it was caught in time to avoid the hospital this time. But the heavy anitbiotic medication left me feeling almost sicker than I was before, albeit without the pain. Thanks for keeping in touch. Whenever I hear of weather or other world news events “down under” I always think of you and hope you are well. I have not given up my dream to someday visit Australia and see it for myself. ❤

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