There are two things I love about this hymn. The first is that it does an amazing job of marrying the story of the Good Shepherd and the lost lamb, with our own personal redemption by Christ. The author describes himself as that lost sheep and then tells us in beautifully, poetic words what the Lord did for him (and for us) on the Cross. The second thing I love about this hymn is that you get the sense of how special and valuable each one of us is to God. In the Bible, we are reminded that we were “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The Bible tells us that God “knit” us together in our mother’s womb. Have you seen the intense focus and extreme care needed by someone who is “knitting?” My two daughters Amanada and Maria have just learnt knitting from their projects at school. Oh how they will knit till it is time to go to bed and the next day start all over again. They can not speak but gaze at the wool in their hands. On a day when I am feeling low, or unimportant, or unworthy, songs like this are great reminders of how God views us. And it is a reminder that His opinion is the only one that really counts. Whether you were familiar with this hymn or not, I hope songs like this are an encouragement to you like it is for me.
Couple of comments on the lyrics:
“He washed the bleeding sin-wounds “ – Although this thought is probably a little too graphic for some, isn’t that what sin is? Sin is an incurable, open wound that just gets worse and worse unless we accept the grace of the Great Physician. The sin-wound is ugly, and can only be washed, bandaged, and healed by the grace of God – by His Son’s precious blood.
“He whispered to assure me I’ve found thee, thou art mine”- Doesn’t it feel good to have someone important to you say nice things to you? To tell you that you are special? They don’t have to yell it on a micro phone. They don’t have to tell a crowd full of people what they think. Probably the biggest smile I get from my little girls is when I whisper in their ear – “Daddy loves you – You’re special to me.” Christ has done that same thing for us. He has sought us and bought us, and then in His gentle, loving way, told us that we are His. What an encouraging word today!
“I wondered what He saw in me” – Even after Christ saves us and tells us we are valuable and that we are His, we sometimes struggle with how we view ourselves. Isn’t it funny that the author still questions what the Lord saw in him after he acknowledges that the Good Shepherd has comforted him and told him that he belongs to Him? I think this is part of our human nature, especially in light of the Cross. The Cross is a constant reminder that we weren’t, and aren’t, worthy of such a great love. We recognize that Jesus didn’t deserve what He got. We deserved to take that punishment. It is a humbling thought, but one worth reminding ourselves of.
Have you ever watched one of those live “rescues” on BBC News or CNN or any local TV channel? I can just imagine what a great feeling for the police officer or fireman to participate in someone’s rescue, or to be one of the people that go into the deep woods on a “Search and Rescue” mission and find a child that has been lost for several days. However, I also know that there is also great tragedy when a “Search and Rescue” team find the dead body of the person they were looking for. What a difference in emotion that person would feel. The searching may be just as intense in both cases, but the end results are vastly different. The “search” is really incomplete and unsuccessful without the “rescue.”
In the “Lost and Found” chapter of the Bible (Luke 15), the phrase “search carefully” is used in the story of the lost coin to describe how the lady searched for her coin. This hymn reminds us that we were “sought” after by the Good Shepherd. However, unless someone is ultimately “rescued,” the searching is in vain. Christ came “to seek and save that which was lost.” To search and to rescue. The question for us is will we help in that important mission, and will we help to “rescue the perishing” from eternal judgment?
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossionas 1:13-14.
IN TENDERNESS HE SOUGHT ME
In tenderness He sought me, Weary and sick with sin,
And on His shoulders brought me into His fold again.
While angels in His presence sang until the courts of heaven rang.
Oh, the love that sought me! Oh, the blood that bought me!
Oh, the grace that brought me to the fold, Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold!
He washed the bleeding sin-wounds, And poured in oil and wine;
He whispered to assure me, ”I’ve found thee, thou art Mine:”
I never heard a sweeter voice, It made my aching heart rejoice.
He pointed to the nail-prints, For me His blood was shed;
A mocking crown so thorny, Was placed upon His head:
I wondered what He saw in me, To suffer such deep agony.
I’m sitting in His presence, The sunshine of His face,
While with adoring wonder His blessings I retrace.
It seems as if eternal days Are far too short to sound His praise.
So while the hours are passing, All now is perfect rest;
I’m waiting for the morning, The brightest and the best,
When He will call us to His side, To be with Him, His spotless Bride.