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“I need Thee, O I need Thee…”
by Stephen Green

Thursday, February 20 – Psalms 50, 59, 60, 19, 46, Gen. 39:1–23, 1 Cor. 2:14–3:15, Mark 2:1–12
(BCP Readings for today)

As I travel through this season of Lent, I hear that old hymn echoing in my heart. Lent has ever been a time of purging for me. It calls me to remember my covenant with Christ, to hear the words I uttered as a 6-year-old “I know You’re real, and I owe You my life. Please enter into me and teach me to serve You. I give you everything I have because I know You deserve nothing less than that.”

I didn’t have a complete understanding at the age of 6 (and I still don’t), but I knew that God wanted all of me. Even more than that, He deserved all of me. I committed myself…and the suffering began. Though I had no concept of Lent at the time, I experienced it at that moment and throughout the years that followed.

“Every hour I need Thee…”

After I had become a Christian with all of myself, I began to experience “wilderness”, to be challenged and tempted in new ways in my life. God began revealing more of my nature to me and drove me to my knees in fear and repentance.

Boy did I struggle! I had to be cleansed, and He wasn’t going to make cleansing a magic trick. No, He put me under the burning Sun and lit up my dark world. He showed me the truth and drew it out of me.

So when He leads us to wilderness, He reminds us of who we are. He leads us to Lent: people who can’t overcome our sin on our own. We can’t heal ourselves. We are not able to live healthily in the Promised Land without being purged by the desert heat. It’s easy to live in the green pastures and by the still waters. It’s easy to live in denial of one’s sin when living in spiritual luxury, easy to justify not going before God in a desire to know and be known; to be complacent.

“O Bless me now, my Savior! I come to Thee!”

I read the Psalms for today’s reading, and I am broken inside. I long to be like I was when I was conceived into the Kingdom of God; when I had the heart that said “You have me. All of me. I commit every last waking moment of my days, and I give you my very breath.”

Sounds like the faith of a child right? Children are naturally transparent.

Maybe that’s why in Psalm 50 God says He is not pleased by the sacrifices of bulls and goats. The people of Israel did the actions God required of them, but they weren’t letting those ancient sacraments penetrate their hearts and daily lives.

I do not wish for this season of Lent to be mere bulls and goats given up in vain. I want to be brought back to a place of living out my covenant. I want to let the perfect Law of God Almighty wash over me and purge me. To lament my sin and my Savior’s death, but to rejoice in the Light and Love of Christ: To remember once again that I NEED Him.

Let us come before God, intentionally entering the wilderness that He has laid out before us and say, “I need Thee! Bless me, You who are my Redeemer, my Protector, and my God! I run before you in repentance, and ask for You cleanse me that I might be in Your presence and be more a part of You!” Let us Lent together so that when the great celebration of Easter comes, our hearts might fully rejoice in the glory and beauty of Kingdom come: in the Promised Land.

Image by Bob Dilworth (used by permission via Creative Commons).