April 3—My Jesus I Love Thee, I Know Thou Art Mine

I love thee because thou hast first loved me

and purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;

I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;

If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (“My Jesus I Love Thee, I Know Thou Art Mine” by William R. Featherstone)

Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face. (John 19:1–3 NLT)

William Featherstone became a Christian at the age of 16 in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec. In response to his conversion, he wrote a simple poem and sent it off to his aunt in Los Angeles, California, who sent it to a friend in London, who published it anonymously in a collection of hymns. A few years later, a New England evangelist found the hymn, and though he liked the lyrics he disliked the tune, so he wrote a new one and included it in a Baptist hymnal he was compiling. It is this version that has spread far and wide across the world to be sung by generation after generation, but it wasn’t until nearly sixty years after Featherstone first wrote his poem that he was even known as the author. However, he had passed away fifty-seven years earlier at the age of twenty-eight.

When Jesus chose to be our intercessor and intermediate – when He chose to die on the cross so that we and all of creation could be reconciled to God – He did not step into that decision blindly. He was not like William Featherstone sending a poem to his aunt, unaware that it would eventually become a world-renowned hymn sung for generations; Jesus knew exactly what He was doing and what would happen to Him. More importantly, He knew what would happen to us if He didn’t, so He set aside His crown in heaven for a time so that He might adorn a crown of thorns upon His brow. He chose us, willingly putting Himself in harm’s ways, so that we might know Him and enter into His Kingdom for all eternity.

Because we are bound by time and cannot gain any insight into the full repercussions of our actions, we must trust in God’s leading. He knows what lies ahead, even as we stumble along like one who is wandering through a dark room. Dedicate a portion of your morning to asking God to guide you today so that your every decision might magnify His Kingdom in our world. Then, as you go about the rest of your day, reconnect with God as you make the new choices that surface.