“MY GOD, MY FATHER, THOUGH I STRAY”

Wayne S. Walker

“Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6.10).

     INTRO.:  A hymn that is based on these words of Christ in the
so-called “Lord’s prayer” is “My God, My Father, Though I Stray” (#78 in
“Hymns for Worship Revised”).  The text was written by Charlotte Elliot (
1789-1871).  It first appeared in the 1834 appendix of her work “The
Invalid’s Hymnbook.”  Miss Elliot was indeed an invalid but a prolific
author whose best-known piece is the hymn, “Just As I Am.”

     The tune (Hanford or Sullivan) was composed by Arthur Seymore
Sullivan (1842-1900).  It was produced in 1871 and first appeared in his
1874 “Church Hymns With Tunes.”  While he published several hymn tunes,
the best-known of which is the melody for “Onward, Christian Soldiers,”
Sullivan is most famous for the music of the “Gilbert and Sullivan”
operettas to the librettos of William Schwenck Gilbert.

     This hymn is a prayer that God’s will may always be done in our
lives.

I. The first stanza says that we should seek to do God’s will no matter
how far we may stray
 A. As Christians, we can call upon God as our Ftaher because we have
been born again into His family: Jn. 3.3-5
 B. The straying here is not necessarily erring from God, but can refer
to the roaming that we may be alled upon to do from our original roots as
we live on this earth; e.g., Paul travelled from place to place far from
his home and learned how to be content: Phil. 4.11-13
 C. But regardless of how far we may have to roam, we should always
determine from our hearts to do God’s will: Eph. 6.6

II. The second stanza says that we should seek to do God’s will when our
life is filled with sadness
 A. Sometimes in life our path is dark and our lot is sad: Psa. 90.10
 B. However, we need to learn to be still and not murmur: Phil. 2.14-15
 C. And to do this, we need to follow the example of Jesus and pray that
prayer that He, when faced with great sorrow and anguish, prayed: Matt.
26.39

III. The third stanza says that we should seek to do God’s will from day
to day as we live
 A. With the attitude of the song, our inward man will be more ready for
the renewing that we can have day by day: 2 Cor. 4.16-18
 B. But to do this, we must blend our minds with that of Jesus Christ:
Phil. 2.5-8
 C. Sometimes, it may be hard to conform our minds to God’s will, but
it’s absolutely essential to please God: Jn. 7.17

IV. The fourth stanza says that we should seek to do God’s will even up
to death
 A. There will come a time when on earth we shall breathe no more: Heb.
9.27
 B. When that happens, the faithful child of God dies in the hope of an
eternal life on a happier shore without all the tears of this earth: Rev.
21.4
 C. But we need to remember that only those who do the will of God will
have a home in that wonderful place: Matt. 7.21

     CONCL.:  To say, “Thy will be done,” is not, or at least it should
not be, just a variation of the fatalistic concept of “whatever will be
will be,” with the thinking that whatever happens to us must be God’s
will.  Rather, it is the expression of the desire that we, and others,
may always seek to do God’s will in our lives.  So may this ever be our
attitude as we sing and pray, “My God, My Father, Though I Stray.”
    

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