A Londonderry Air, a popular melody from Northern Ireland of uncertain origins, has had numerous lyrics set to it over the years. I was a girl when I first heard the words Christian singer/composer, Dottie Rambo, penned to this lovely melody. She entitled the song; He Looked Beyond My Fault And Saw My Need .
Regardless of how highly we may think of ourselves, regardless of the image we try to portray to others or even ourselves, the Bible tells us that our righteousness is as filthy rags.
We are all infected and impure with sin.
When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags.
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
Isaiah 64:6 (NLT)
Do you know what is amazing about all of this? Jesus Christ looked past the all the infection, filth and the deformity of sin which not only covered us but it was an integral part of our very being! He looked past all the junk and saw... us. He looked at us, not with the eyes of an accuser but with eyes full of love and compassion. In spite of our wretched and helpless estate... He loves us.
One Sunday morning, during my chemo treatment, I was having a particularly difficult time. I was exhausted and sick. To make matters worse, I was bald and all but four eyelashes on each eye had fallen out. If you think this was merely a cosmetic issue, think again. Your eyes are continuously being bombarded with dust particles and debris. Your eyelashes aren t there to make you look good... they are there to help keep your eyes clean and healthy. When you don t have any... or you only have a couple, it can cause all sorts of eye trouble which can be painful and even dangerous.
It took all my energy to slowly walk from the car into church. While others stood, I sat. That Sunday, during worship, I could feel the presence of God filling that place and... I hid my face. I actually did for I did not want God to see my wretched condition. I was ugly, disfigured and sick.
To someone who has not experienced having to go out in public after being disfigured in some manner, this might seem a bit trivial or even silly. That is because it has not happened to you. Those who have experienced it will know exactly what I mean. It is very hard initially to step out into the world and allow others to see your wretched condition.
It sounds sort of like sin, doesn t it. We want to hide it. We want to conceal from everyone our wretched state but we can t hide it from God.
As people were singing and worshiping God all around me, I couldn t stop crying. This made matters even worse for you see, during chemo my tears weren t normal . People are familiar with hair loss as a side-effect of chemo but there are many other little known side-effects as well. Because your body chemistry has been altered, the consistency of some things can change. It affects different people in different ways depending on what drugs they are being given. In my case, one of the side-effects I had was the chemical make-up of my tears had been altered. Instead of having normal tears, I had what felt like thick drops of oil burning my eyes and then ever so slowly slide down my face leaving a trail of oily slime on my face. This uncomfortable feeling usually made me cry even harder. Also, the cleansing you often feel (well we women feel anyway, LOL) after a good cry was absent because quite simply... chemically I was rather messed up.
Suddenly I was aware of God looking at me and I actually cowered and started to cry even harder. To have others see me was bad enough but God? I actually bent down even lower in my seat and covered head with my arms. I did not want God to see me in this condition but... God wanted to see me.
Gently, ever so gently, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit softly and tenderly ask me why I was trying to hide. Then He told me that He did not see an ugly, deformed and scarred piece of flesh. No... He saw His beloved princess. He tenderly held me as I wept in His arms... no longer cowering and afraid for He looked beyond my fault and saw my need... and yours.
Amazing Grace shall always be my song of praise,
For it was grace that bought my liberty,
I do not know just why He came to love me so,
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.
I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary,
To view the Cross where Jesus died for me,
How marvelous His grace that caught my falling soul,
When he looked beyond my fault and saw my need.
This testimony is so beautiful. Only God can come and help at times like this...we humans are so inadequate. On Sunday at church, there was a lady that has been suffering through chemo, from the looks of her she doesn't look long to this earth, but then I remember, I've seen others this affected...and they are back healthy and living active lives now. Sometimes we need to remember that God is a healer and mainly that He is a friend like no other. Now that you have been there, you know this more so than the rest of us, obviously God felt you were worthy of such a test and now you in turn, can give hope to others, while few of us can, we have not been there. To God be the Glory. Shirley
Ah we sing this song in church, but not in 4 or 5 part harmony. I love it how God in the fullness of his Grace and Mercy, looked down from Glory, looked beyond the fault of original sin and saw my need for salvation.
And that is why I will forever lift mine eyes to Calvary.