Psalm 63:5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
Recently, at our Church, a young man from Iran was baptised.  In his testimony he mentioned how he had always believed in ‘God’ although he realised that his whole life felt empty and meaningless because he had no personal relationship with his ‘God’.  He had always striven to be a ‘good’ person, to live a ‘good’ life of being kind and thoughtful towards others.  It was quite obvious from his attitude and behaviour, his general demeanour, that he would have made a better than average attempt at coming close to achieving what he was striving for.  In Australian parlance he was a ‘fair dinkum, nice bloke’.

But he said that he always longed to ‘know’ God, to have a ‘personal relationship’.  A member of our Congregation, whose native language is also Farsi, invited him to start coming to Church on Sundays – which he did, and discovered by doing so that he was a sinner who needed a Saviour, and that made all the difference.  Through repentance and faith in Jesus, he now enjoys a personal relationship with God.

Speaking with him at lunch afterwards, he told me how helpful it was to give meaningful, heartfelt expression to this personal relationship in the singing of songs in church, which was something I could easily relate to.  One of the songs we had sung in the baptismal service was ‘Jesus, Strong and Kind’.  What I love about this song is the way it says: “Jesus said that if I thirst I should come to him; no one else can satisfy, I should come to him.  Jesus said if I am weak I should come to him; no one else can be my strength, I should come to him. … …Jesus said that if I fear, I should come to him; no one else can be my shield, I should come to him.”  And then, by way of stark it contrast says:  “Jesus said, if I am lost, he will come to me; and he showed me on that cross he will come to me” (Colin Buchanan, CityAlight).

What a wonderful, clear expression this is of the balance between Man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty in salvation!  In Matthew 11, Jesus, having just said, “All things have been committed to me by my Father.  No-one knows the Son except the Father, and no-one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him”, he then, virtually in the same breath, adds the universal appeal, “Come to me, ALL you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The Iranian man shared with me how he could clearly see God’s sovereign hand at work in bringing him to saving faith – coming to him when he was lost – even while he was feeling burdened and seeking rest!   Yes, “with singing lips my mouth will [always] praise [my sovereign, lost-seeking God]”.
– Bruce Christian