IN THE HOUR OF TRIAL
James Montgomery, 1771–1854
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up to it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Crisis situations are often the important pivotal points in our lives. Our response to these traumatic times—the loss of a loved one, a change in employment, a mistreatment by a trusted friend—will be the foundation stones upon which our lives are built. Maintaining the glow of our first love for God despite all the stresses of life is a major concern. The third stanza of this hymn teaches so well what our attitude should be when difficulties come our way: A desire to know what God is saying through the experience and a willingness to cast our cares on Him.
This beloved hymn was written by one of England’s foremost hymn writers, James Montgomery. It was first published in 1853 with the title “Prayers on a Pilgrimage.” The text is based on the incident of Peter’s denial of his Lord in the courtyard of the high priest (Mark 14:54, 66–72).
“In the Hour of Trial” also teaches that believers, like Peter, are capable of rebelling and straying from the fellowship of their Lord. The Bible gives this warning: “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12). The antidote to sin’s allurements is the ability to keep our minds centered on Christ and His redemptive work for us. And like Peter, we can have our fellowship with God restored when we return to Him in brokenness and true humility. Peter’s remorse was the start of his spiritual greatness. Like Peter, we must let our pride and self-sufficiency become our Christ confidence if our lives are to count for the Lord.
In the hour of trial, Jesus, plead for me; lest by base denial I depart from Thee: When Thou seest me waver, with a look recall, nor for fear or favor suffer me to fall.
With forbidden pleasures would this vain world charm, or its sordid treasures spread to work me harm; bring to my remembrance sad Gethsemane, or, in darker semblance, cross-crown’d Calvary.
Should Thy mercy send me sorrow, toil, and woe, or should pain attend me on my path below, grant that I may never fail Thy hand to see; grant that I may ever cast my care on Thee.
For Today: Mark 14:54, 66–72; John 16:33; 17:15; Galatians 6:14
Be sensitive to the possibility of denying your Lord even in some small word or deed. Share with another believer who has strayed from God the truth of a new beginning with Christ.
Osbeck, K. W.
- And said unto them, My soul is er heavy, even unto the death: tarry here, and watch. … And as Peter was beneath in the hall, there came one of the maids of the high Priest. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked on him, and said, Thou wast also with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied it, saying, I know him not, neither wot I what thou sayest. Then he went out into the porch, and the cock crew. Then a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. But he denied it again: and anon after, they that stood by, said again to peter, Surely tou art one of them: for thou art of Galilee, and thy speech is like And he began to curse, and swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. Then the second time the cock crew, and Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice, and weighing that with himself, he wept. Mark 14:54, 66–72
- These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace: in the world ye shall have affliction, but be of good comfort: I have overcome the world. … I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou keep them from evil. John 16:33; 17:15
- But God forbid that I should rejoice, but in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Galatians 6:14