If the path I travel

If the path I travel
  Lead me to the cross,
If the way Thou choosest
  Lead to pain and loss,
Let the compensation
  Daily, hourly, be
Shadowless communion,
  Blessed Lord, with Thee.
Shadowless communion,
  Blessed Lord, with Thee.
If there's less of earth joy,
  Give, Lord, more of heaven.
Let the spirit praise Thee,
  Though the heart be riven;
If sweet earthly ties, Lord,
  Break at Thy decree,
Let the tie that binds us,
  Closer, sweeter, be.
Let the tie that binds us,
  Closer, sweeter, be.
Lonely though the pathway,
  Cheer it with Thy smile;
Be Thou my companion
  Through earth's little while;
Selfless may I live, Lord,
  By Thy grace to be
Just a cleansed channel
  For Thy life through me.
Just a cleansed channel
  For Thy life through me.

Sebring, FL, United States

What a sweet hymn. I enjoyed it and will share it.


Baton Rouge, United States

What a deep hymn! I love singing it with this new tune. Wonderful song to enjoy alone with the Lord to start my day. Lord, make this our experience and prayer. If you touch the quotation symbol before the comments you can read what Watchman Nee says about this hymn & its writer.

Yuri Reyes

Anaheim, California, United States

Shadowless communion

Carol Haserjian

Northridge, CA, United States

This is the life that leads us into eternity that we have this constant communion with our Lord through the cross.

Oh let the ties that bind us closer sweeter be. ❤️


Los Angeles, California, United States

If sweet earthly ties, Lord, break at Thy decree,

Let the tie that binds us, closer, sweeter be.

Sarah Anne

Ochtrup, Munster, Germany

I love this hymn especially with the new tune: to me it gives so much depth; to the hymn. the lyrics helps me to see what God does for me: how God leads and guides: LordJesus, use me as your cleansed channel ; for your life through me: to be a light to others; Luke 11:33-34 no darkness Lord: let Your light shine through me. like a spotlight: You are so great!!!!!!!!!!!! no words can truly describe You. I love You so very much.

Rebekah Hamilton

United States

I have been really lonely lately, but praise the Lord, He is our true companion. Lord, thank You You are always with us! Lord, I love You more today!


London, United Kingdom

Found this song unexpectedly. The verses indicated that it was going to be a sad song. Wasn't thinking to listen to it in the first place as I did not want to get into my emotion too much. However, after singing it a few times, my spirit was strengthened and the heavy feeling within me was gone. Praise the Lord, never experienced one hymn like this could just supply me with life in such a sweet way. Thank You for Your mercy and love and Your faithful servant, sister Barber.

Raquel Dominguez

Lake Elsinore, California, United States

I have this song in my ipod but I never really payed attention to the words. I found it here on hymnal.net accidentally and singing along and paying attention to the words brought me into tears. For this sister's consecration is so genuine and full of love. She trusted and believed the Lord was with her always and she knew that if she had more communion with Christ she will be satisfied even through trials that caused riven hearts. OH LORD JESUS I WANT TO ALWAYS TURN TO YOU WHETHER HAPPY, or SAD. WHETHER MY HEART BE ACHING I WANT MY SPIRIT TO BE REJOICING! BIND US MORE! I WANT MORE OF YOU THROUGH MY TRIALS AND LESS OF MYSELF. LORD I CONSECRATE MYSELF TO YOU ONCE AGAIN! LORD JESUS I LOVE YOU!!

Stephen Barber

Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.

"If the way Thou choosest

Lead to pain and loss,

Let the compensation

Daily, hourly be

Shadowless communion,

Blessed Lord, with Thee."

As we pass through this lifetime the Lord is interceding His divine hand to dry up everything that is not Himself, and He is replacing all these things with His very being. When we experience a certain trial the Lord is near us as our faithful companion comforting and soothing us with His mercy and grace. The Lord does not take away without replacing, and He replaces the oldness with the best-Himself.

After clearing Miss Barber of the injustice, the mission board wanted to send her back to China. However, she felt that the time to leave the mission had arrived, so she resigned from the mission assignments, left the denomination, and came to China on her own by faith. She returned to Mawei outside of Foochow and settled there. She spent most of her time praying. She also preached the gospel and supplied life to the people who contacted her. She was a person who knew the Spirit and life. Several of the deep hymns in our hymnal were written by her and translated by Brother Nee, such as Hymns, #377, "If the path I travel / Lead me to the cross, / If the way Thou choosest / Lead to pain and loss," and hymn 506 in Chinese: "He faileth not, for He is God." From reading her hymns, we know that she was quite spiritual and that she knew how to pray.

Man's greatest suffering is finding his desires unfulfilled. When a person cannot satisfy his desires, he may rebel, disagree, or complain in his heart. But if he would lift up his head at that very moment and say to the Lord, "I thank You because this is Your will," his capacity would be increased. Without the cross, all spiritual blessings will stop. When harsh words, unkind expressions, or unhappy incidents happen at home, a person may weep. Yet if he would say to the Lord in tears, "I accept and am satisfied with the things You have permitted to come upon me," he would grow. Madam Guyon said, "Lord, even if You chastise me with a whip, I will still kiss that whip with my mouth." Miss Barber wrote in one of her hymns: "Let the spirit praise Thee,/Though the heart be riven" (Hymns, #377). This was spoken by one who truly knew God and who truly knew the cross.

This also is a very good hymn. The expressions and wording are very poetic, and the feeling is very deep. Everything about it belongs to a higher realm and is lofty and mature. It is rare for a hymn on fellowship to reach such a standard. There is not a tint of unnaturalness or extreme. It is a genuine expression of a genuine lover of the Lord toward Him. It is perfect submission borne out of perfect consecration. It is the voice of submission that comes from the heart of one who has no resistance toward the Lord.

"If the path I travel/Lead me to the cross,/If the way Thou choosest/Lead to pain and loss,/Let the compensation /Daily, hourly, be/Shadowless communion,/Blessed Lord, with Thee." This is full of consecration and submission.

Stanza two is the best stanza in the whole hymn. Here the feeling ascends still higher. "If there's less of earth joy"—the writer is contemplating—"Give, Lord, more of heaven." He is praying to God, not for deliverance or for change, but for more fellowship. "Let the spirit praise Thee, /Though the heart be riven." Here is a person who can differentiate between the heart and the spirit. The heart may be broken, but the spirit can praise. The heart may be riven, but the spirit is still fresh before God. He knows the difference between the heart and the spirit. He does not ask for enjoyment of the heart but for compensation of the spirit. He has begun the ascent, but the next line is still higher. The first line says, "If there's less of earth joy," while the fifth line says, "If sweet earthly ties, Lord,/Break..." These two lines are linked by the word earth. This is poetry. "If sweet earthly ties, Lord,/Break at Thy decree,/Let the tie that binds us,/Closer, sweeter, be." He seeks neither compromise nor escape. He asks only for better fellowship. He jumps from the "sweet earthly ties" in the fifth line to "the tie that binds us." This is lovely. The feeling is fine, the words are right, and the structure is wonderful. This is beautiful!

Since stanza two reaches the climax, stanza three turns into a prayer: "Lonely though the pathway,/Cheer it with Thy smile." "Cheer it with Thy smile"—this is so spiritual and poetic. "Selfless may I live, Lord,/By Thy grace to be/Just a cleansd channel/For Thy life through me." This means that he asks for nothing else except that he would be a selfless and holy vessel to carry out God's will. This is the prayerful finale of a consecrated person in suffering. If we read this hymn carefully, we will see that this is truly a fine hymn. We have to come to God to learn these hymns and the spirit of these hymns.

James 1:2 says, "Count it all joy, my brothers, whenever you fall into various trials." First Peter 1:6 says, "In which time you exult." What is this? Verse 8 says, "Whom having not seen, you love; into whom though not seeing Him at present, yet believing, you exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory." In chapter four, verses 12 and 13 say, "Beloved, do not think that the fiery ordeal among you, coming to you for a trial, is strange, as if it were a strange thing happening to you; but inasmuch as you share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice exultingly." These few passages tell us how we should behave in the days of tribulation. The book of James speaks of "various trials." This includes the trials that one should face as well as trials that one should not face; they come all at once. Enemies come, friends come, unbelievers come, brothers come, and reasonable as well as unreasonable things come. All kinds of trials come, but these things cannot take away our joy. Please remember that the Bible always qualifies joy with such adjectives as great and full. All of God's joys are great and full. First Peter 1:6 says that one greatly rejoices, while the grief is but for "a little while" (RSV). Can there be grief? Yes, there can; in fact, grief is unavoidable. While our eyes are here, tears will always come. As long as our tear ducts are here, tears will always come. But even though there may be tears, there is also rejoicing. Hence, 1 Peter 1:8 speaks of "joy that is unspeakable and full of glory." There is no way to describe this joy. Many times, while our tears are still wet, we are already shouting, "Hallelujah." Many times, while tears are still rolling, our mouths are thanking and praising God. Many people have tears that are mingled with their thanksgiving and praises. Miss M.E. Barber wrote a hymn with one line which says, "Let the spirit praise Thee,/Though the heart be riven" (Hymns, #377). While we live on earth today, our heart cannot help but be riven at times. The heart has its feelings, yet the spirit can still praise the Lord. First Peter 4:12 says that we should rejoice not only in the midst of trials, but also in anticipation of the trials. This means that we should welcome the trials and say, "Praise and thank the Lord, the trials are here again."