Father, I know that all my life

1
Father, I know that all my life is portioned out for me,
And the changes that are sure to come I do not fear to see;
But I ask Thee for a present mind intent on pleasing Thee.
2
I ask Thee for a thoughtful love, through constant watching wise,
To meet the glad with joyful smiles, and to wipe the weeping eyes;
And a heart at leisure from itself, to soothe and sympathize.
3
I would not have the restless will that hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child, and guided where I go.
4
Wherever in the world I am, in whatso’er estate,
I have a fellowship with hearts to keep and cultivate;
And a work of lowly love to do for the Lord on whom I wait.
5
So I ask Thee for the daily strength, to none that ask denied,
And a mind to blend with outward life while keeping at Thy side;
Content to fill a little space, if Thou be glorified.
6
And if some things I do not ask in my cup of blessing be,
I would have my spirit filled the more with grateful love to Thee,
More careful, not to serve Thee much, but to please Thee perfectly.
7
There are briers besetting every path that call for patient care;
There is a cross in every lot, and an earnest need for prayer;
But a lowly heart that leans on Thee is happy anywhere.
8
In a service which Thy will appoints there are no bonds for me;
For my inmost heart is taught “the truth” that makes Thy children “free”
And a life of self-renouncing love is a life of liberty.

Very little is known about the author of this hymn, because of her remarkably retiring disposition. She was Anna Laetitia Waring, and was born in Neath, a town of South Wales, in 1820. In 1850 she published her "Hymns and Meditations," and in 1858 she published "Additional Hymns." It is believe that she was a Friend, and that her life was full of suffering and pain. Hymn #305 in the Chinese Hymnal is a translation of this hymn by Watchman Nee.

5
IrisCrystal Seok

South Korea

Many years ago I was introduced this beautiful hymn translated in Korean, which lyric conveyed a vivid feature of a genuine Life experience of an enlightened Christian in grace. Since then for many years I have wished to see the original version lyric and now I’m so happy to come across this web page!

The last stanza translated into the current Korean language hymnal which appears to be a little different from the English and Chinese version is, if it is re-translated in English, like this: “My way caused by the Love of the Lord toward me and chosen for me cannot become a bondage to me; the human living that the Lord had gone through with a self-renouncing life is the very way for me to follow, which the Lord showed to me when He conducted me into a way where I had passed through the deep night under His leading and guiding.”

The experience of Christian life depicted in this lyric reminds me of one of the ministry messages:

“Beloved brothers and sisters, through hardship and pressure a divine element is being wrought into the very fabric of our beings, so that we cease to be colorless Christians, but have a heavenly color imparted to our lives that was lacking before. Whatever else suffering may effect in this universe is incidental; this is primary—to bring those whom the living God has made possessors of created life into the uncreated life of the God of resurrection. It is in the death experiences which come through suffering that the life of the creature is blended with the life of the Creator. We may know the living God without such drastic experiences, but only through death can we come to an experiential knowledge of the God of resurrection.

Suffering is the God-appointed lot of the Christian. The Christian's happiness is not to be found in external things, but in learning to enjoy God Himself in the midst of trial. Paul and Silas could rejoice and sing His praises while they were in prison, because their happiness did not come from outer circumstances, but from an inner enjoyment of God. In Paul's short letter to the Philippians, written during his imprisonment, there are over a score of references to joy. In deep distress he could still be joyful because in his affliction he was learning to know Christ, to appreciate Him and to enjoy Him. His outward circumstances were all conducive to sorrow, but it was in sorrow that Christ was imparted to him as the source of his joy.

Beloved brothers and sisters, do you want to be partakers of the new creation? Do you want to know perennial newness? Then you must give your consent to God when He seeks to lead you through devastating processes. And you need have no fear, for God knows how to apportion suffering. He is an expert at matching our suffering to our state. He measures all things with unfailing accuracy and selects the peculiar trial suited to the peculiar need. He invariably chooses the lot of each one with this goal in view—an increase of the divine content in our lives. If He chastises us, it is always "for our profit that we might partake of His holiness." (Heb. 12:10) "God causes all things to work together for good to those...who are called according to the purpose." (Rom. 8:28) What good? This, that we may be "conformed to the image of His Son." (Rom. 8:29)” (——from ‘The God of Resurrection’ by Bro. Witness Lee)

And, “according to the context, ‘the good’ (Rom. 8:29) here is not related to physical persons, matters, or things. It refers to our gaining more of Christ, to our having Him wrought into our being, that we may be transformed metabolically and may eventually be conformed to His image, the image of the Son of God, that is, that we may be brought into the full sonship. Loving God causes us to care for His desire and to be willing to coordinate with Him. God’s working needs our coordination, and our coordination with God confirms that we are called by God according to His purpose.” (——from the footnote of RcV Bible on Rom. 8:29)

Praise the Lord who is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Rev. 22:13), and yes, we who were designated as His inheritance (Eph. 1:11, 18), are confident that He who has begun in us a good work will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6).

O Lord, help us to be useful vessels in Your hands, being according to the Spirit at any time and in every place, and in every single matter thoroughly cooperating with not only Your desire and Your will but also Your way for us.


Glory

Best I've ever come across.


J.O.

United States

I especially appreciate the last line of the last two stanzas: "But a lowly heart that leans on Thee is happy anywhere" and "And a life of self-renouncing love is a life of liberty." The author is not writing words of doctrine but is writing something that was her sweet experience. May we experience the same kind of life, a life leaning on Him and a life of "self-renouncing love."


Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

My favorite hymn. The tender tune and all 3 lines of each verse rhyming together are beautiful.

The best thing is that the hymn contains so many gems of faith, love and truth. The gems express truths or heart desires that I did not have words to express:

v1 "I know that all my life is portioned out for me"

"the changes that are sure to come I do not fear to see"

"I ask Thee for a present mind intent on pleasing Thee" - what a good prayer!

v2 - "a thoughtful love"

"thru constant watching wise"

"a heart at leisure from itself"

v3 "I would not have the restless will that hurries to and fro" - this whole verse is convicting to me.

v4 - My treasures are "a fellowship with hearts" and "a work of lowly love to do". The world can't take these away from me.

v5 - "I ask Thee for the daily strength, to none that ask denied" - includes the faith that it will be granted.

"a mind to blend with outward life while keeping at Thy side"

"Content to fill a little space, if Thou be glorified" - So lowly, yet uncommonly glorious.

v6 "More careful, not to serve Thee much, but to please Thee perfectly" - to always be ruled by


Simon Tay

Penang, Malaysia

What a finely written hymn! The sentiments are highly poetic and deep, uttered from a heart that had been dealt with to such an extent that almost every line rings with immediacy and can move us deeply. The hymn also reveals a trained mind attuned with scripture. For instance, the components of the soul (the mind, emotion and will) are alluded brilliantly in the first three stanzas. The mature flow of thought is outstanding. The music matches the hymn beautifully.