To have Christ is to have all we need! To rest in Him is more valuable and more satisfying that anything this life can offer. But too often the trials and troubles of this world overwhelm us and keep us from fully laying hold of the riches we possess in Christ.
John Ryland, an English Baptist pastor and hymn writer, understood this struggle of faith. In 1777 (the same year he wrote “Sovereign Ruler of the Skies”), he composed the hymn “O Lord, I Would Delight in Thee.” The hymn is a prayer expressing his desire for a “stronger faith” anchored in God’s sure Word. In it he exposes his own (and our) folly. We focus too intently on the parched world around us, whose “streams are dried,” bemoaning our thirst, when all the while Christ is near— “a fountain which will ever run with waters sweet and clear.” Ryland reminds himself of God’s goodness. “While Christ is rich,” we “can’t be poor”! Even if all the joys and blessings of this world fade away, Christ’s “fulness is the same.”
The hymn was written December 3, 1777 and published in Rippon’s Selection (1798). The lyrics were heartfelt and especially meaningful to the hymn writer. According to John Julian in the Dictionary of Hymnology, Ryland attached a note to the manuscript that read: “I recollect deeper feelings of mind in composing this hymn, than perhaps I ever felt in making any other.”
May God stir in us such heavenly desires! In these uncertain times, may we cast all our cares upon the Lord, and may our “great concern” be to love and praise Him more!
O Lord, I Would Delight in Thee
“Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
O Lord, I would delight in Thee,
And on Thy care depend;
To Thee in ev’ry trouble flee,
My best, my only Friend.
When all created streams are dried,
Thy fulness is the same;
May I with this be satisfied,
And glory in Thy Name.
Why should the soul a drop bemoan,
Who has a fountain near—
A fountain which will ever run
With waters sweet and clear?
No good in creatures can be found,
But may be found in Thee;
I must have all things and abound,
While God is God to me.
O that I had a stronger faith,
To look within the veil;
To credit what my Savior saith,
Whose words can never fail.
He that has made my heav’n secure
Will here all good provide;
While Christ is rich, I can’t be poor;
What can I want beside?
O Lord, I cast my care on Thee;
I triumph and adore;
Henceforth my great concern shall be
To love and praise Thee more.
“O Lord, I Would Delight in Thee”
Words by John Ryland, (1753–1825)
Music by John Herbert (1852–1927)
Words and Music ©Public Domain
Download free sheet music (PDF), including chord charts and an arrangement of the hymn tune LAFAYETTE for classical guitar.