A Way to Ensure You Avoid Emptiness


I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.

I Need Thee Every Hour
By: Annie S. Hawks, 1836-1911 (1872)

Listen to this beautiful piano version as you read, or watch the video then read. Please be sure to experience the worship-cultivating podcast below.

We transition to a different perspective of our continual need of God in the latter part  of this stanza.  In the first part it was the extremes and in-betweens, every moment of life.  Now we consider that fact that without His abiding presence our lives are useless.  Let’s think about this.

Two Unusual Words

As is often the case with hymnody, we come across words that require us to think a bit because they are not commonly used today.  This stanza has two in my option.  Abide and vain.

Vain is a little simpler since it is not quite as far removed for common use.  As it is used in this occurrence it means, producing no result or useless.  The reason this usage is in play here is because of our other word and the imagery of producing which it evokes.

Abide has several meanings which factor into this discussion.  We certainly need God to bear patiently with us, and to endure without yielding, but that is only the beginning.  We also need Him to wait for us and to accept (us) without objection.  What we mostly need though is for God to remain stable or fixed in a state and to continue in a place.   In other words, we need Him to connect to us and stay connected.

The passage of Scripture that portrays this best is John 15:1-10.  For our purposes we are going to focus in on one verse in particular.  It illustrates both the benefit of abiding and the vanity of not doing so.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5 (ESV)



As noted above the most crucial thing we need is to be connected to God.  This connection enables us to be useful, to fulfill the purpose for which He created us.  We are to bear fruit.  We, the branches, can only do that when we stay connected to Him, the Vine.

I think of this latter part of the stanza in the context of the first.  Joy and pain.  What would be expressions of this for a branch?  Rain or drought?  When there is water the plant can be healthy and grow.  When there is no water the plant will wither and eventually die. Seems pretty obvious right?

It is no less true of us, only that the consequences, particularly of not abiding, are not immediately visible.

So it begs the question, “How do we abide?”  If it is only a matter of connection then we need to discern by what means we stay connected to God and then practice them as if our lives depended on them, because they actually do.

There are the obvious answers of reading the Bible and praying, but how many other things may help us abide?  What about worshipping?  And serving, being the hands and feet of Jesus?  Even in just these few there is a tremendous diversity of expressions.  For example, praying is not only talking to God, but listening.  When was the last time you just listened to God for even five minutes?  Seem challenging?  It certainly is if you have not trained yourself to do it.

There are other ways as well.  Some of which may be more unique or unusual but help you to stay connected to God’s will and ways.  You must find the right rhythm for you which will likely be as unique as you are.  Then and only then will you be able to bear all the fruit that God has in mind for you.



Take a look at that fruitless branch.   It looks like there may be some new growth there but there is certainly no fruit.  In a vineyard, this branch may very well be one of those that would be pruned away due to its lack of fruit.  It’s not for lack of trying, it just appears it may not be connected.

So are you more like this branch or the one at the top with the beautiful cluster of grapes.  Maybe in other seasons you have produced much fruit, but lately there is little.  There is a natural ebb and flow to fruit production, but if it has been several seasons you many need to evaluate the vitality of your connection to the vine.

If you feel disconnected, cry out to Jesus.  He wants to be connected to Him and the purposes of your Father.  He will help you.

Take a step into a more vital connection today. Even if yours is healthy, maybe you could be producing more fruit.  Even you are not producing take a step in that direction.  Do something to strengthen your connection to the vine, then do something else tomorrow.  Be diligent and patient and before you know it…fruit.

Jesus, teach me how to overcome temptations by inviting Your presence all the time, but especially when I am tempted.  I believe You will provide a way of escape if I will but look to You.  In Jesus’ name.   Amen.

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Everyone enjoy this podcast and the transcript below! It features meditative music and moments to contemplate the Scriptures and reflections shared.

Podcast 11.3 Transcript

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s think about this.

I need Thee every hour,

Hebrews 4:16 ESV

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Though I think the time of need described here is generally considered a great need, not an hour goes by when we should not approach the throne of grace.  Have you done so in the last hour? Whether you have or not, do so now with confidence.

in joy or pain;

Romans 12:12 ESV 

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

We must develop the habit of bringing everything to God is prayer.  We thank Him when our hope is strong. We cry out when the troubles are overwhelming.  We are always talking to Him. Whatever is on your heart right now, lay it before the Lord.

  Come quickly and abide,

1 John 2:6 ESV

Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

We know we need Jesus to come to us, and help us live in Him, attached to Him, moving along with Him.  This requires us to become like Him, otherwise there is a constant tension. Ask Jesus to show you how you can walk as He walked.  That is what you really need.  

  or life is vain.

Ephesians 2:10 ESV

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Unless we pursue the purpose for which we were made, our lives are vain or useless.  God has things He has prepared for us to do and we need to walk in them. Ask the Spirit to show you how to develop the holy rhythm of learning how to stay in step with Jesus whatever comes your way.  

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has come to your mind, or listen to what He is saying to you, then I will read our text once more.

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.

Take the awareness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.

Image Attributions
Abide – https://pixabay.com/photos/grapes-fruit-fruits-blue-1696921/
Fruit – https://pixabay.com/photos/grapes-fruit-fruits-blue-1696921/
Uselss – https://pixabay.com/illustrations/vine-cutout-branch-nature-backdrop-788905/