It is a wonderful viewpoint for us with our daily struggles. Which of us, if we came across a wounded stranger or a drowning man, would not help? Of course we would. We cannot do less for the people we are committed to and know personally day in and day out. We may feel worn down and broken from the repetitive trials we endure, but we must find the energy, care and love to endure well - as if we just came across someone in need for the first time. Humanity rallies to a new cause without fail. September 11th, the earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami a few years ago, the mudslide in Washington last week.... we find renewed strength and courage for new tragedies and needs. We must find this same energy and strength over and over for our daily lives.
If we are broken, we are just where we need to be. For a broken heart is what our Lord requires of us. A broken heart in the Lord will make us humble and teachable and it will, in the long run strengthen us. If we try to claim our broken heart for ourselves, it will make us bitter and angry.
The original Mormon Tabernacle Choir page with this text and a video (pending releases) can be found by clicking here.
A long time ago, noted preacher Dwight Moody told his congregation a story about a boat, helplessly rocking and plunging on a stormy, starless night near the Cleveland harbor. The mariners on board could see the lighthouse, but they needed to find their way through the narrow passage in the treacherous rocks that surrounded the harbor. Normally a light on the shore, aligned with the lighthouse, marked the passage to safety. But on this night, the lower lights had gone out.
Finally, the desperate captain decided they had no choice but to proceed into the harbor without the guidance of the lower lights. “With a strong hand and brave heart”—but in almost total darkness—“the old pilot turned the wheel.” Tragically, he missed the channel, crashed the boat upon the rocks, and lost the lives of his sailors.
Moody then explained the lesson to be learned from his story: the Master will take care of the great lighthouse, but He depends on us to keep the lower lights burning. Philip Paul Bliss was directing the singing at the meeting that night and was so inspired by Moody’s story that he wrote what would become one of his most popular hymns, “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy.” He also composed the music, a hymn tune known as “Lower Lights,” which was first published in 1871.
The storms of life put many around us in peril. They may long to approach the light of “our Father’s mercy” but are unsure how to navigate the obstacles in their way. We all know how they feel, because each of us has been lost at sea from time to time.
Most often, God uses us to rescue them. If we can keep the light of faith burning in our hearts, if we align our light with the Light above, we can guide an exhausted mariner safely home. We can be the lower lights that “send a gleam across the wave. Some poor fainting, struggling seaman [we] may rescue, [we] may save.”
To listen to this hymn, click here:
1. Brightly beams our Father's mercy
From his lighthouse evermore,
But to us he gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
2. Dark the night of sin has settled;
Loud the angry billows roar.
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.
3. Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.
Am I my husband's keeper? Absolutely.
For some poor fainting, struggling good man, you may rescue, you may save.