…a series on words/phrases from old hymns to encourage and enrich.
I have had a certain phrase rolling over in my mind these past few days from the old hymn “Sweetest Name”. It has been such a blessing to me and I wanted to share it with you. However, before I could get this post written, we had communion at church – and one of the songs the pianist played was “Wonderful Grace of Jesus”. As I inwardly sang the words she played the melody to so beautifully, I realized that this hymn also had words that encourage and enrich. …and so begins a short series.
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know; fills my every longing…keeps me singing as I go.” This is the final phrase of the chorus of “Sweetest Name” – a hymn written by Luther Bridgers in 1910.
I want to focus on just the middle four words “fills my every longing” because I believe most of us have at least one longing – and probably more than one.
Longing is defined as a yearning desire. And yearning is synonymous with craving, ache, burning, hunger, thirst. Each of those words create vivid word pictures…some similar – and some quite different from each other. To yearn is often used when referring to emotions and relationships; a craving can be associated with addictions; and to ache – well, that is used to describe emotions and relationships, but it also brings up thoughts of chronic illness and pain. To burn, connotes discomfort of some sort or an insatiable desire; while hunger and thirst both make one immediately physically or spiritually hungry or thirsty when they contemplate the word.
I believe it will take just a few seconds for you to identity at least one longing you currently have. You probably have several. Whether relational, spiritual, physical, emotional or a combination – this word L-O-N-G-I-N-G is such a perfect description of itself. A longing is not easily or quickly satisfied…it is long in coming, and perhaps will not be satisfied in a way we thought it would or should.
Then how in the world can a songwriter be so bold as to write that Jesus can, and does, “fill my EVERY longing“? Mr Bridgers was acquainted with longing. He was a minister who lost his wife and children in a fire while he was away visiting aging parents in 1910. That same year he wrote this song. He knew…and wanted others to know, (you and me) that his yearning desire, his constant craving, his aching heart, his burning wish, his hunger and his thirst to have his beloved family back – had been realized, filled, satiated and completed by Jesus!
Did that mean he just suddenly stopped grieving and/or never thought of his lost family again? Oh, I can’t imagine that was the case. I DO know that it meant that he knew within the deepest parts of his being that His God and Savior understood, cared and had supplied the grace and hope that satisfied.
Remember when I wrote “A longing is not easily or quickly satisfied…it is long in coming, and perhaps will not be satisfied in a way we thought it would or should”? As humans we reason, rationalize and try to fix things ourselves or make things happen. However, Jesus satisfies our longing(s) when we trust Him with them, knowing that our human way of looking at things is short-sighted, often irrational and imperfect at its very best. His ways are never short-sighted, never irrational and always perfect! Jesus satisfies our longings when we place our focus, whether consciously or sub-consciously, on Him and His ways.
I have often told others that when I write I am so blessed myself – and, this is one of those times when I am finding it nearly impossible to stay at the computer because my soul is bursting with joy and hope because of who Jesus is and what He has done, is doing and will do for myself and others during my lifetime. I want to simultaneously jump up and down, run around, drop to my knees in adoration and utter words of gratitude and praise to my Lord and Savior – the God of Heaven and Earth!
Perhaps I digress, but think of the words to another song with me for a moment:
“Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew, Cover it with choc’late and a miracle or two
The Candy Man, oh the Candy Man can – The Candy Man can ’cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.”
A dewy sunrise covered in chocolate and miracles – now that’s sweet!
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know; fills my every longing…keeps my singing as I go.”
How much sweeter to have my longings satisfied! Jesus, your name truly is the sweetest name I know.