Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Nought be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee, and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art
High King of heaven, my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all
There are many old hymns like this one that I know so well I often just sing the words without thinking. And this one in particular has lots of old English language that usually just skims over my brain without comprehension. I mean, come on – “Nought be all else to me, save that Thou art”??
So I took the time to slightly rewrite the verses to try and better understand them – they are no longer in poetic form and definitely don’t rhyme, so as hard as it is, I try to read it without hearing the tune. Maybe it could be thought of like a letter…
Be my vision, for you are Lord in my heart. Everything else means nothing to me – everything except you. You occupy my best thoughts during the day and at night. When I’m awake or asleep, your presence is the light that guides me.
Be my wisdom, and my truthful words. I am always with you, and you are with me, Lord! You are my great heavenly Father, and I am your child. You dwell within me, and together we are one.
I do not desire riches, or praise from people (which is empty of meaning anyway!). You are my inheritance, today and forever. You, and only you, have first place in my heart. You are the High King of heaven, and my greatest treasure.
You are High King in heaven, and have won my victory! Please let me experience heaven’s joys, for you are the bright Sun of heaven! Your heart and mine are one in the same, and whatever comes my way, please continue to be my vision, for you are ruler over all.
I started to wonder, what does it mean for God to be my vision? What am I asking for? Another word I think of in relation to God as my vision is God as my guide. Psalm 25:4-5 says, “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
I do desire for God to teach me and guide me. I want to do his will. But sometimes I’m scared of where that will take me. If I ask God to be my vision, then I’m asking to see right into his very heart and to make his desires mine. It might be out of my comfort zone. It might be things I’ve never done before or places I’ve never gone. Is that a risk I’m willing to take?
I just noticed that each of the verses to this song have something to do with God and me being closely knit together… Thou my best thought… Thy presence my light… I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord… Thou in me dwelling… Thou and Thou only first in my heart… Heart of my own heart… Intimacy with anyone is a scary, vulnerable thing, but intimacy with God? To be so close that His thoughts are what occupy my mind day and night? To be so close that when I speak it’s really His words coming out of my mouth?
If I truly pray the words to this song, where will that take me?