He Abides

I’m rejoicing night and day as I walk the narrow way,
For the hand of God in all my life I see.
And the reason of my bliss, Yes, the secret all is this:
That the Comforter abides with me.


He abides, He abides. Hallelujah, He abides with me!
I’m rejoicing night and day As I walk the narrow way,
For the Comforter abides with me.

Once my heart was full of sin, Once I had no peace within,
Till I heard how Jesus died upon the tree.
Then I fell down at His feet, And there came a peace so sweet.
Now the Comforter abides with me.

He is with me everywhere, And He knows my ev’ry care;
I’m as happy as a bird and just as free.
For the Spirit has control; Jesus satisfies my soul,
Since the Comforter abides with me.

There’s no thirsting for the things of the world-they’ve taken wings.
Long ago I gave them up, and instantly
All my night was turned to day, All my burdens rolled away.
Now the Comforter abides with me.

This lovely song reminds me of the scripture in John 14:16. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever. I like several things about what Jesus said in this passage.

First, it says He prayed.  The great thing about Jesus’ prayers is that they were always answered. His will and the Father’s were one so when He prayed for something, you can guarantee that it was going to happen.

Secondly, He prayed that the Father would send the Comforter – the Holy Spirit.  The Greek word here is “parakletos” which can mean an intercessor, a consoler, an advocate, or a comforter.  Isn’t that what the Holy Spirit does?  In times of need, He is interceding.  In times of grief, He is there to console.  In times when you need help, He is our advocate.  And when we are distraught and in pain, He is there to comfort.  Finally, the last phrase says that this Comforter will abide with us forever.  Isn’t that an encouraging thought that in the midst of the highs and lows, and the ups and downs of life, we have a Comforter who is dwelling in us and taking up residence in us and that He has come to stay – forever.

The song was written by Herbert Buffum who was born in 1879, in Lafayette, a farming community in Illinois USA. He was a rebellious teen who aspired to be an actor. Because of poor health he moved to southern California where in  1897 agreed to attend a Holiness camp meeting. There he was converted and healed. Even though Buffum had no musical training, he taught himself to play any instrument with strings. Herbert Buffum was 35 years old when he wrote the words to this gospel song. The melody was written by an interesting character, D. M. Shanks. He was also known as Doc McKinley Shanks. He lost an arm in a sawmill accident and lived all of his 104 years in Floyd, Virginia. How in the world he connected with Buffum has been lost to history. Years on the road as an evangelist took their toll. Herbert Buffum died in 1939, worn out at only 59 years of age. However, for 22 years he had been sustained by his own testimony…

Couple of comments on the lyrics:

  • “The hand of God in all my life I see” – The Bible has many references to God’s hands especially as it relates to the things He created.  The Bible also talks about how God’s hands moved in certain situations.  In your life today, can you see God’s hand in the created things of this world?  Whether it is the beauty of a sunset, the face of a newborn baby, or the intricacy of a flower, God’s mighty hand is visible to us in our everyday life.  But we should also see God’s hand moves in our lives.  Whether it is protecting us, healing us, guiding us, or holding us, His hand is visible in all our lives, if we take the time to look for Him.
  • “For the Spirit has control” – There’s two ways I view this statement.  First, as it applies to my life.  I ask myself, “Have I submitted to the Holy Spirit in my own life?  Do I let Him lead, guide and direct me, and do I let Him have total control?”  The other way I view this statement is acknowledging that God is in control of everything.  Nothing happens that He is not aware of.  Nothing that I will encounter today, tomorrow, next week or next year that He doesn’t have control over.  He is sovereign.  He is all-knowing.  And He can move into my situation and my circumstances as He deems necessary.
  • “No thirsting for the things of this world” – I realize there is a difference between being thirsty and actually taking a drink, or craving something and actually eating it.  I get the picture here that the author is trying to communicate to us that not only certain bad actions have been eliminated from his life, but the desire for these things has gone away too.  This doesn’t happen on our own by our own strength.  This can only come as the Spirit helps us to deny ourselves and squash our selfish desires.

One of the most important things He said in these chapters was about the Comforter coming.  Four times in these chapters we’re given the promise of the Comforter.

I take “comfort” (and I hope you do too) in the promise of Jesus that the Holy Spirit will always be on call, always be on duty, always be monitoring our situation – 24/7.  Without Him and His leading, we are like sheep without a shepherd. Another old hymn chorus says “Without Him, I could do nothing.  Without Him, I’d  surely fail.  Without Him I would be drifting, like a ship without a sail.”  I am thankful today that I am not drifting without a sail, but that I have the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, leading and directing my life.  And I am grateful that ”He abides” with me.  I know you are thankful for that too.

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