Have you known the comfort of God’s presence?

Have you known the comfort of God’s presence?

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.… Be silent, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. The Lord Almighty is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.

Psalm 46:1,10-11
There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God, A place where sin cannot molest, near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God, Hold us who wait before Thee near to the heart of God.

There is a place of full release near to the heart of God, A place where all is joy and peace, near to the heart of God.

Cleland Boyd McAfee

Finding comfort in God’s presence

Where do you turn when unexpected tragedy strikes? Cleland McAfee, a Prebyterian minister in Chicago, had just received word that his brother and sister-in-law had lost both of their daughters to diptheria within twenty-four hours. Grief-striken, McAfee couldn’t think of deep theological issues; he could only think of verses in the book of Psalms that brought comfort and rest to those who sought refuge in the Lord. As he meditated on God’s Word, he wrote the words and music to this simple hymn, “Near to the Heart of God.”

At the double funeral, outside the darkened, quarantined house of his brother, Cleland McAfee with a choking voice sang this hymn publicly for the first time. The following Sunday, his church choir sang it from their pastor’s handwritten copy.

From The One Year Book of Hymns (Tyndale House) entry for February 10

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House