O For a Faith That Will Not Shrink
From “Then Sings My Soul…”
"O For a Faith That Will Not Shrink"
William H. Bathurst (1796 – 1877)
This hymn strikes a chord in most Christians, for we often find ourselves worrying when we should be worshipping and waiting. The German Christian, George Mueller, was a man who learned to replace fear with faith. When asked about his ability to trust God in crises, he replied, "My faith is the same faith which is found in every believer. It has been increased little by little for the last 26 years. Many times when I could have gone insane from worry, I was at peace because my soul believed the truth of God's promises. God's Word, together with the whole character of God, as He has revealed himself, settles all questions. His unchangeable love and His infinite wisdom calmed me... It is written, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.'" If your faith needs bolstering, make this hymn your own personal prayer. It was written by William Bathurst, who was born near Bristol, England, on August 28, 1796. He grew up in privileged surroundings. His father, Charles Bragge, a member of Parliament, changed his name to Bathurst when he inherited the family estate in Gloucestershire. After graduating from Oxford, William became an Anglican minister in a village near Leeds, England, for 32 years. But he grew uncomfortable with the Anglican Church, especially regarding the baptism and burial practices demanded by the Book of Common Prayer. He eventually resigned his pulpit and assumed the family estate at Lydney Park. He died at the estate in 1877 and was buried in the nearby churchyard.
"O For a Faith that Will Not Shrink" is the best known of William's 200 hymns. Originally entitled, "The Power of Faith," it was written as William studied Luke 17:5-6, where "the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, he might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you."
“O, for a faith that will not shrink, Though pressed by every foe,
That will not tremble on the brink Of any earthly woe!
That will not murmur nor complain Beneath the chastening rod,
But, in the hour of grief or pain, Will lean upon its God.
A faith that shines more bright and clear When tempests rage without;
That when in danger knows no fear, In darkness feels no doubt.
A faith that keeps the narrow way Till life’s last hour is fled,
And with a pure and heavenly ray Lights up a dying bed.
Lord, give me such a faith as this, And then, whate’er may come,
I’ll taste, e’en here, the hallowed bliss Of an eternal home.”