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.
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.
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.
Ana Lara

Storrs, Connecticut, United States

Today, 92 years ago, Margaret E. Barber passed away in China. This particular hymn shows her utter consecration and love for the Lord. In an excerpt titled “Yes Father” from a biography, it testifies of her ministry while living in a remote village in the South of China.

Why did the Lord so use Sister Barber? What was the secret of her work? Clearly her ministry corresponded to her life. Brother Watchman Nee later explained, “The Lord’s work is only the outflow of life. It is not a matter of working for the Lord, but of letting the Lord work in you. ” She could work for the Lord because she allowed the Lord to work on her and mold her.

She had a heart to love the Lord and live unto Him. Once she was facing a situation that was difficult because the price it demanded involved everything she had. In this situation she lifted up her eyes with tears and said, “Lord! in order to satisfy Your heart I am willing to have my heart broken. “

Another time, Brother Nee asked her about her experiences of obeying and doing the will of God. She said, “Whenever God delays in telling me His will, I find that I still have a disobedient heart and an improper motive within me. ” She learned this through many, many experiences. She often asked Brother Nee “Do you love God’s will? ” She did not ask, “Do you obey His will? ”

One time Sister Barber was disputing with the Lord concerning a certain matter. She knew what the Lord wanted, and in her heart she truly wanted the same thing, but it was too difficult for her. Brother Nee heard her pray, “Lord, I admit that I am not willing to learn this lesson. But please do not surrender to me. Lord, please wait! I will surrender to You. ”

She did not want the Lord to surrender to her and lessen His demands on her. She did not want anything other than to please the Lord. Several months after Sister Barber passed away, someone sent Brother Nee a box of her possessions. Among them was a note with the words: “Lord, thank you for this commandment: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind! ’”

She once said: “The secret to understanding the will of God is that 95% is a matter of submitting to the will of God, and only 5% is a matter of understanding. ” She herself proved to be a person who truly understood the will of God and knew God.

Once Brother Nee brought this question to her. “All in all, did the Lord request more from His disciples than they requested from Him? ” Brother Nee thought that the Lord requested more. Sister Barber answered, “No! we see the outward failures of men; the Lord sees their hidden victories. ” This kind of understanding must have been learned lesson by lesson before the Lord. No wonder she could be so confident and believe in God and could stand so firmly in rejecting the enemy!

One time she was sick for four days in a row. She had no coworkers with her and no money, and even the cook had gone home. She asked God why she was sick. The Lord showed her clearly that the sickness was not from God, but it was an attack from Satan. She told the Lord, “If I am wrong, then the sickness will continue. But if this is Satan‘s attack, then I shall not continue to be sick. “ She had already suffered with a high fever for four days, but she rose up immediately and wrote a hymn whose first line reads, “To the foe my word is always, “No. ” After finishing the hymn she went out to work; the sickness was gone. However God did not only teacher lessons through sickness; He also arranged many other environments to test whether she could always say “yes” to the Father.

Christian Website: The Story (p. 8)

Sister Vali Ruth

Tirane, Albania

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.

Robert Benitez

Corpus Christi, TX, United States

Early in my walk, almost 34 years ago, I was introduced to this song put to music by a blessed brother - Rudy Gutierrez. It helped sustain me as God stripped me of self, that He might increase. Today, He put it in my mind that I might worship Him and I then searched and found Rudy’s version as well as the lyrics here at this sight. Thank You Lord Jesus for Your Faithfulness in Bringing us to The Foundation and Cornerstone that You Are. Love You Lord.



Lord, lead me to the cross to see You, my blessed Lord.

Amos Kimani

Nairobi, Nyandarua, Kenya

Wonderful hymn, we need the cross to cross out all our negatives things in our life.

Ben Dover

Cupertino, CA, United States

Great song. Beautiful

Alex Nelson

Culumbus, Ohio, United States

The Lord gave me this hymn at the beginning of this year when I was confronted with the realities of the loss of my mother and my strained ties to my sister over the course of our lives. it ministered to me in a multifaceted way and allowed me to let go of the natural love I had in my life and supplied me with an all sufficient grace to be able to put the past behind me and moved forward in my walk with Christ and my pursuit of His will and purpose for me in my relationships to family, others and Himself. Sister Barber has met my need in her releasing such a gem of a hymn. Praise the Lord!

Rosita Enriquez

Anaheim, California, United States

This hymn is so beautiful! Praise The Lord for our sister M.E. Barber. This hymn reflects the life our sister lived on earth. Alone, the cross, broken earthly ties! She gave herself as a sacrifice to The "Magnet of her Soul." And He honored such consecration and used her in the line of His Economy to mentor br. Watchman Nee in China. This grain of wheat that fell into the earth has brought much fruit to The Lord. During her lifecourse on the earth she did not bear any physical children, did not accumulate a wealth of finances, but O what a great family she acquired, and how gloriously happy is she, one with The One she lived for "Through earth's little while".

Isaiah Tor

Sydney, NSW, Australia

The path the writer of this hymn travelled has its goal in the fullest communion and fellowship with the Lord. This is not in a purported heavenly bliss of heightened "blessedness", but in a path of sorrow, pain and loss that has its model in the Lord Jesus' life on the earth in His earthly ministry. Neither earthly bliss or heavenly satisfaction as popularly sought is found here; it is rather to live because of Him, even as Christ Jesus lived because of the Father. The tenor of this hymn is not to offer comfort and solace that is temporal or self-oriented, rather than Christward. It is to, whilst suffering here on earth, bereft of every source of earthly comfort and satisfaction, and with no evident "heaven-sent" relief, to live unceasingly in His innermost presence in spirit, not defining the Christian life with respect to what our environment may present, but rather to let His presence, His being in our spirit to be the centrality and universality of who we are and what we are, even the focus in whom we press on whilst outwardly languishing in losses to the soul life, yet being renewed by Him within (2 Cor. 4:16). Thence we are in this process being produced as ministers of God's new covenant, to be just "a cleansed channel" for His life through us.

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."