Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are still, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand!

This song is one that has so many memories connected to it for me. I listened to it for comfort when my Nanna died, when a friend/mentor died, we sung it at our wedding, and it was played at a dear friend's funeral last year. I've always loved how it tells the gospel message:

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Til on the cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live!

The third verse is my favourite. I love how there is a somber tone in the first lines, but absolute joy after that:

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His, and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ!

After my 39wk midwife appointment, we drove to the hospital to have an ultrasound to see if there was a heartbeat. At that point, we both knew we were unlikely to see/hear our precious baby's heartbeat, and I was trying not to get my hopes up. It had never been tricky to find her heartbeat, so I knew something was wrong. Deep down, I knew our baby had died, but I also knew that our God works miracles. If we thought it was too late and there was no heartbeat, He could have easily changed that for us. While thinking all of those thoughts, this song came on.

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of Hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hands
Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!

What do I do with that verse? I have no fear for my own death, but I was certainly afraid of our baby dying. On the other hand, I knew without a doubt that nothing, not even our girl's death, could take me from God's hand (there is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still...)

What if life doesn't have a first cry, or a final breath? Ariella did neither of those. I now find it hard to sing that line, as they assume there is always a first cry and a final breath. There's not. And this song now reminds me of that. And while verse three proclaims that Jesus' body was in the ground but He rose, it reminds me that our girl's body is also in the ground, and I don't get to see her resurrected until I get to Heaven. And that feels like a long time to wait.

So even though it makes me cry when I hear it (like the past two weeks at church!), I will still try to sing:

Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!


Heidi Hill said...

I love this song. Jesus has done a wonderful thing for us! Something we could never do for ourselves. Thank you for sharing your blog. My heart is sad for you.

Larissa said...

Thank you Heidi. I'm so grateful Jesus did it for us!

The Greeneklee Nest said...

Hi Larissa, I have just read your story in the SANDS SA newsletter, and have read a lot of your blog. Our 3rd child, Sophie, was stillborn in Oct 2011 at 40weeks. We had "In Christ Alone" at her funeral, along with "How Great the Father's Love for Us". God has taken me on an amazing journey through Sophie's death, a journey that continues. I am closer to God than I have ever been, and closer to my husband of 11 years, and yet it still hurts SO MUCH to not have her here. Perhaps you'd like to read my blog sometime, and I'll continue to read yours and continue to be encouraged by it. I started my blog after Sophie died partly as a way to process my grief, but also a way to have a creative outlet. I often imagine blogs in my head but don't always make the time to write them down. Do you do this? Our other wonderful children, gifts from the Father, are 8 and 6. I've had such amazing support from my church family and school / kindy community that I've only just this week made an appointment to see a professional counsellor. I prayed for the Lord to lead me to a Christian person, and He did. I continue to marvel at how He is involved in all the little details of our lives. It's bedtime now for me but I'll write/comment again soon. Thankyou so much for letting other people into your life and faith via this blog.

Larissa said...

Hi, thanks for coming to my blog!I'm sorry to hear your little Sophie was stillborn, it's so awful, isn't it? I love both songs you chose for her funeral, and I'm thankful that you shared with me that this journey has brought you closer to God and your husband. I'm the same I think, but you're right, it's still hurts so much! I'll definitely come check out your blog :) And yes, I often think of things to post and then never do.
God is still good, isn't he? Praying He continues to draw you closer to Him.

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