By: Curtis Schofield, Spiritual Insight
A deep sadness
had settled on Henry Lyte. He sat in his family living room. For the last 24
years this room had been such a wonderful place. He thought of the many members
of the church, he had served, who had been guests of his family. Many had been
so faithful in standing with him these last 27 years while he was their pastor.
They had brought such joy and laughter to this house. As he sat there all alone,
he was asking, “Where have all the years gone? It was such a wonderful
experience! Why am I so sad?”
Today he had
just served the last communion to this wonderful church family. He had always
planned to serve here longer. But life does not always go as we plan. Recently,
his doctor had given him bad news. The only way he could prolong his life was
to leave the heavy atmosphere of Brixham, England, and find a drier climate.
through the garden that had given him so much relaxation and peace. Often he
had come here to share with his Heavenly Father praise for the wonders of
living. Often he prayed here for others and found assurance for answered
He walked to
his beloved seashore, a place that would soon be his experience no more. It was
here he had composed many delightful poems to illustrate great truths. At this
moment he was thinking, “Will I ever be able to have the feeling of excitement
of the love and goodness of life, enough to be able to compose another poem?”
Some thoughts began to go through his tormented mind.
realizing what has going on with him he was trying to make some sense out of
the helplessness and grief he was experiencing. As a sense of the presence of
death was biting at his heels, he cried out to the Savior, “Jesus help me to
clarify what I am feeling at this moment.” A phrase came to him as if it was
spoken audibly, “help of the helpless.” He asked, “Lord, why am I hearing ‘help
of the helpless?’” The answer came, “Because you are identifying with what every
person feels in this solemn hour.” Suddenly, Henry no longer felt alone.
returned to his study. There he wrote out the words to “Abide With Me, Fast
Falls the Eventide.” In his moment of greatest loss, the Living Christ gave him
the lines of a hymn that was a gift, not only to him, but also to the whole
He left for the
south of France, and soon after his arrival in Nice his strength failed him,
and while whispering the words, “Peace! Joy!” And pointing upward, as he died.
His helper nurse, Cavell, stood by his side and uttered the end of the great
hymn, “Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; in life, in
death, O Lord, abide with me!”
Curtis Schofield is a retired minister
residing on Sand Mountain. Contact him at (423) 413-5653. Read more of
Schofield’s stories on www.curtschofield.blogspot.com.