Hymn of the Month

MAY, 2021


Afflicted Saint, to Christ Draw Near

(Click Title to Listen)

by John Fawcett (1782);

Additional words and music by Connie Dever


Afflicted Saint, to Christ Draw Near

Verse 1

Afflicted saint, to Christ draw near,

Your Savior’s gracious promise hear;

His faithful Word you can believe:

That as your days your strength shall be.

 

Verse 2

Your faith is weak, your foes are strong,

And if the conflict should be long,

The Lord will make the tempter flee

That as your days your strength shall be.

 

Refrain

So, sing with joy, afflicted one;

The battle’s fierce, but the victory’s won!

God shall supply all that you need;

Yes, as your days your strength shall be.

 

Verse 3

Should persecution rage and flame,

Still trust in your Redeemer’s name.

In fiery trials you shall see

That as your days your strength shall be.

 

Verse 4

When called to bear your weighty cross

Or sore affliction, pain, or loss,

Or deep distress or poverty,

Still as your days your strength shall be.

 

                                                               

Scripture Resources


Deuteronomy 33:25

Your bars shall be iron and bronze,

    and as your days, so shall your strength be.

 

James 4:7-8a

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

 

Philippians 4:19

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

 

Psalm 98:1

O sing to the Lord a new song,

For He has done wonderful things,

His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.

 

1 Peter 4:12-13

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

 

Luke 9:23-24

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.


Isaiah 47:4

Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name—is the Holy One of Israel.

 

                                                              

ABOUT THE SONGWRITERS


This Sovereign Grace version of the original hymn by John Fawcett was released in 2018 for Together for the Gospel Live IV with new music and some new words by Connie Dever. 


Connie Dever

Connie Dever, wife of Mark Dever (pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC), began a years-long journey of physical suffering after a cancer diagnosis in 2013.  In an interview in 2017 for Christian Living (The Gospel Coalition blog) Connie talked about finding herself in a trial that exposed a gap between what she believed and how she trusted God. Multiple surgeries, radiation, and significant side-effects of the resulting hormone changes led her to keep a diary of her daily battle with the spiritual side of physical suffering.


In her diary, she recorded her thanks, over and over again, for God’s purpose. She begged for prayer from friends and readers. She copied excerpts of Scripture, classic hymns, and writers like Charles Spurgeon and C. S. Lewis, reflecting on how they were helping her get through each affliction.


These writings have since been compiled in an excellent book, He Will Hold Me Fast: A Journey with Grace through Cancer (Christian Focus, 2017).  In the introduction, Connie wrote that she didn’t want to “waste a speck of this trial,” wanting to “know God so intimately that I could laugh at the days ahead, looking to God’s bountiful resources instead of my puny ones to meet them.” 


Her contributions of fresh music to some old hymns—such as our May Hymn of the Month, Afflicted Saint, to Christ Draw Near—are undoubtedly the fruit of God’s resources delivered to Connie in her affliction.

 

John Fawcett (1740-1817)

An orphan at the age of twelve, John Fawcett (b. Lidget Green, Yorkshire, England, 1740; d. Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, 1817) became apprenticed to a tailor and was largely self-educated. He was converted by the preaching of George Whitefield at the age of sixteen and began preaching soon thereafter. In 1765 Fawcett was called to a small, poor, Baptist country church in Wainsgate, Yorkshire. Seven years later he received a call from the large and influential Carter's Lane Church in London, England. Fawcett accepted the call and preached his farewell sermon. The day of departure came, and his family's belongings were loaded on carts, but the distraught congregation begged him to stay. In Singers and Songs of the Church (1869), Josiah Miller tells the story associated with this text:

 

“This favorite hymn is said to have been written in 1772, to commemorate the determination of its author to remain with his attached people at Wainsgate. The farewell sermon was preached, the wagons were loaded, when love and tears prevailed, and Dr. Fawcett sacrificed the attraction of a London pulpit to the affection of his poor but devoted flock.”


Fawcett continued to serve in Wainsgate and in the nearby village of Hebden Bridge for the remainder of his active ministry.


By Bert Polman, from Hymnary.org

                                                                                                                       


We are commanded to, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." (Colossians 3:16). Accordingly, we incorporate hymns into our regular Sunday morning worship at Pacific Hope Church. We firmly believe in equipping God's people with the knowledge of His Word through sound teaching in our classes, Bible studies, and even in our Sunday morning worship. Our worship will always be with the purpose of exalting the Lord to His proper place; it is never man-centered or seeking to create an emotional experience.