My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
A story is told of a pastor who lived in Lockport, New York just before the turn of the century. Maltbie Babcock by name, he would often head out to enjoy a hiking area called “the escarpment.” Heading out to walk this ancient ledge near the city, he would often declare, “I am going out to see my Father’s world.” They say the view from there was incredible indeed – taking in the “greens of farms and orchards to the blues of Lake Ontario.”
There must have been circumstances in this pastor’s life that caused the necessity to “get away” and “refocus!” To take the time to remember, simply by the beauty of the nature around him, that this world still belongs to God. When Pastor Babcock left this world in 1901, his wife gathered and published many of the writings he had penned. A friend of his, Franklin L. Sheppard put some of these words to music, and today we continue to gain strength from the reminder of the hymn, “This Is My Father’s World!”
Aren’t the words of this verse especially encouraging?
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!
In Acts chapter 4, we find that Peter and John were boldly proclaiming Jesus, even when it wasn’t the most popular thing to do! They were facing strong opposition! Yet they boldly proclaimed that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 Those opposing them were astonished – for these were “unschooled, ordinary men.” But they took note that they “had been with Jesus.” (V.13) Even when given earthly “commands” to “not speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” these men chose “to obey God rather than men.” (v.18,19) After their release, and they went back to their people, they prayed, “Sovereign Lord,” . . . “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.” (v,.24) Then, on down in their prayer, they asked for BOLDNESS! Their faith in His sovereignty strong, they sought His Holy Spirit to enable them to “speak His Word with great boldness” (V.29) in spite of their circumstance.
As people of God, our hope is in the fact that our God is faithful. We must proclaim His Word — which endures forever! (I Peter 1:25) When all is said and done, no matter how we are tempted, tested, or tried – our God is in control. In all stages of life – young, middle-aged, older; whether we have lots, or little; if we are in excellent health or overcoming sickness, our God is “rock-firm and faithful.” Psalm 73:26 (MSG) Truly my heart cries out with the Psalmist, “You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want in earth!” Psalm 72:25 (MSG)
When God brought this whole earth into existence, He was faithful. Peter and John and the others experienced His faithfulness – even in opposition. Pastor Maltbie Babcock realized His faithfulness in his day. Today – our God is still faithful! No matter what, when our faith is resting in the Lord, we can rely on the fact, “This is my Father’s world!”
By: Janene A. Dubbeld/FGG