My wife and I recently took in some of Michigan’s fall colors and spectacular views. I am always blown away by this divine beauty. And without fail what comes to mind are the words of the great hymn “This is My Father’s World.” And what always strikes me from the hymn is the stark reminder that the One who created all this still owns and rules all this. “This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget That though the wrong Seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.” When I am overcome with the beauty of His creation I am also overcome with the assurance that God is in charge – of everything.
So after returning home I decided to look up the hymn ‘s history. In doing so I discovered that Maltbie D. Babcock, the author, was also inspired by an area around one of the Great Lakes. While a pastor in Lockport, New York, Babcock liked to hike in an area called the escarpment, an ancient upthrust ledge near Lockport. It has a marvelous view of farms, orchards, and Lake Ontario, about 15 miles distant. It is said those walks in the woods inspired these lyrics. The title recalls an expression Babcock used when starting a walk: I’m going out to see my Father’s world. (1)
Then I reread the words and discovered verses I had never before seen. And what inspiring words they are! They deepen my trust and heighten my praise of God, my Father. May they do so for you as well.
This is my Father’s world, And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world, The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, Declare their maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass; He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong Seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: The battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and Heav’n be one.
This is my Father’s world, Dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise Cry, The Lord is in this place.
This is my Father’s world, From the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son, Came—a pledge of deathless love.
This is my Father’s world, Should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod. No place but is holy ground.
This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not, My heart is still at home.
(1) Hymn History: http://hymntime.com/tch/htm/t/i/s/tismyfw.htm