“It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought.” Hosea 13:5
Yes, Lord, you did indeed know me in my fallen state, and you did even then choose me for yourself. When I was loathsome and self-abhorred, you did receive me as your child, and you did satisfy my craving wants. Blessed forever be your name for this free, rich, abounding mercy. Since then, my inward experience has often been a wilderness; but you have owned me still as your beloved, and poured streams of love and grace into me to gladden me, and make me fruitful.
Yea, when my outward circumstances have been at the worst, and I have wandered in a land of drought, your sweet presence has solaced me. Men have not known me when scorn has awaited me, but you have known my soul in adversities, for no affliction dims the luster of your love. Most gracious Lord, I magnify you for all your faithfulness to me in trying circumstances, and I deplore that I should at any time have forgotten you and been exalted in heart, when I have owed all to your gentleness and love. Have mercy upon your servant in this thing!
My soul, if Jesus thus acknowledged you in your low estate, be sure that you own both himself and his cause now that you are in your prosperity. Be not lifted up by your worldly successes so as to be ashamed of the truth or of the poor church with which you have been associated. Follow Jesus into the wilderness: bear the cross with him when the heat of persecution grows hot. He owned you, O my soul, in your poverty and shame—never be so treacherous as to be ashamed of him. O for more shame at the thought of being ashamed of my best Beloved! Jesus, my soul cleaves to you.
I’ll turn to thee in days of light,
As well as nights of care,
Thou brightest amid all that’s bright!
Thou fairest of the fair!
Adapted from Morning and Evening.