How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”

“E’en down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when grey hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.”

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake!”

This hymn is becoming my own. It has been a comfort and a reminder of who I depend on in times of crisis and in the everydayness of life. The last three years have been filled with numerous kinds of suffering along with much joy. He has been teaching me a lot! And in the suffering and the joy, fellowship with the Lord is sweet.

I’m thankful for the foundation the Lord has given me in His Word. This truth is a solid foundation when life gets rocky. He has given me all I need in His Word and it is a place I flee to Him for refuge and security.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer several months ago, this second verse became a comfort. He reminded me that He is very present and would strengthen me, help me and cause me to stand, not in my power, but because He would uphold me by His righteous, all-powerful hand.

As surgery for a mastectomy and recovery took place, it felt like He was taking me through very deep waters physically and emotionally. He reminded me in this third verse that though sorrowful, the sorrow would not undo me, though at times it felt like it would. He is with me. He blessed me in ways unimaginable with a merciful answer to prayer for no cancer in the lymph nodes. It was Stage 1A. He is growing me through this deep distress.

His grace has been sufficient through this fiery trial and others I’ve experienced in the last three years. He has used these things to refine and transform me to be more like Him. He isn’t finished either! He promises to finish what He began, thankfully.

With gray hair getting grayer, I am becoming more and more aware of His lavish love for me and that He holds me close to His heart.

And the last verse comforts me even more to remind me that as I lean into Him for rest, He will not desert me. He won’t desert me to the enemy or to those opposed to Him. Even when my soul is shaken to the core, He will NEVER forsake me! What great hope!

Sally Mathews

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