My Hope is Built on Nothing Less

forgivenThe year was 1834. A 37 year old cabinet maker named Edward Mote was making his way to work through the busy streets of London. As he walked his mind wandered. He contemplated what he called, “the gracious experience of a Christian.”

In his heart he began to compose a hymn. By the time he reached his workshop, the chorus played repeatedly in his head: “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” By the end of the day he had composed four verses.

The following Sunday, a friend from church informed Mote that his wife was gravely ill. Mote agreed to visit them that afternoon. During the visit, Mote’s friend told him how it was his custom to read a portion of Scripture to his wife and sing a hymn to her before attending evening services. The husband, however, could not find his hymnal.

It just so happened that Mote had a copy of his new hymn in his pocket. “I have some verses in my pocket,” he told his friend. “If you like, we could sing them.” The man’s wife enjoyed the hymn so much, Mote’s friend asked for a personal copy.

That night, Mote returned home and composed two final verses to the hymn which he promptly took to his friend’s home. Mote sang them to the dying women. Her reaction to his hymn had a profound impact on Mote. He later studied for the ministry and became pastor of Rehoboth Baptist Church in Horsham, West Sussex at the age of 55.

This last week, I had the privilege of standing by the hospital bed of a young man who was dying. As he coughed up blood and moaned in pain, we didn’t talk about his job or sports or the weather. Death has way of turning our thoughts and conversations away from the mundane.

Like Edward Mote, I had the privilege of reminding this young man of Jesus’ love and sacrifice for him. At that moment, nothing else mattered.

So often we build our lives on our hopes and dreams. We want a family, a big home, a good job. We work hard so we can play hard. We spend our time and money on such seemingly important things.

Then we stand next to the deathbed of a son or brother or father. Then suddenly we find ourselves on the bed where we ourselves will breathe our last. Death has a way of reminding us what is important.

I am unrighteous. I am a sinner. I deserve to die and rot in hell. Yet Jesus came and did what was right in my place. His blood stained the ground below the cross to pay for my poor priorities and foolish ambitions. In him I have forgiveness. In him I have a home in heaven. He is my only hope – the only thing that matters.

Don’t wait until your deathbed to remember that.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness,
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
In ev’ry high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

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