Matthew Bassford is a brother in Christ who has gone to be with our God. During his pilgrimage, Matt was a preacher and hymnwriter.
[verse 1] Gracious Father, Friend divine, Consolation of the blessed, You have touched this day of mine with a foretaste of Your rest. Tho’ tomorrow care may come, trial arise, and grief ensue, now I thank You for the time I have spent in joy with You.
No amount of testimonial can be given that will allow someone to understand, truly understand, the joy a child of God experiences when they are secure and assured of their salvation. Described in this verse (and the title) as a “foretaste of Your rest”; the singer is reminded that to achieve salvation means to be united with the Father who saves by grace (Ephesians 2.8-10). But not every day will be a bones day.
[verse 2] Should this hour of rest depart and the joy it brings me, cease, I will bear it in my heart as a promise of Your peace. When I strain beneath new woe or contend with future sin, from this moment I may know You will bless my life again.
The reminder to do one’s best is a constant edification from myriad pulpits (James 4.17). Achieving a goal in growth is awesome- a word I like to reserve for things that truly provide awe, and that awe originating from our God. But this verse provides the reminder that the truly dark days in our lives are ones where our plateaued gains are assailed by “new woe(s)”. Additionally recognize the humble lament of future sin. I’m winning today, and already apologizing for future failure.
[verse 3] Father, tho’ I cannot see How my path will end below, Still I know You wait for me where my heart has longed to go. When my body cannot stand, take my spirit to Your breast; With a father’s gentle hands, Bear my soul to Sabbath rest.
Matt faced a long battle with ALS, medical science mapping out how, slowly, he would shake of his mortal coil. I cannot help but wonder how many times Matt prayed this exact verse. In his last hours, he could not stand. Yet, like the apology of future problems in verse 2, there is the joyful expectation of death, and being carried away to promised peace. May we also, live in such a way as to greet the life to come