For Such a Worm as I

Father, as I come before You this morning, my thoughts leading up to this time, my thoughts during this time and even today’s Puritan prayer reading, all are focusing on the same area – my unworthiness and Your mercy and grace.

Some 30 years ago, when I was serving on staff in one of my first churches a friend of mine expressed his offense at the text of a favorite hymn, by Isaac Watts, “At the Cross.” The first verse reads,

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would he devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

He took offense at the word “worm”. He felt that that was too much, that because of what You had done for us, Lord, that we shouldn’t think of ourselves in that terminology – it was too debasing. Many must have agreed with him for in most “modern” hymnals the phrase “For such a worm as I” has been replaced with “For sinners such as I.”

Way back then it bothered me and I think it does more so today. Lord Jesus, I realized who I am in You. I am not who I once was – I have been gloriously changed! I have been reborn! And as the psalmist proclaims “You have removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12 I love that verse! If I place my finger on a globe and go north, eventually I will be going south. BUT… if I trace my finger across the equator heading east – I will never go west. The two never meet. That is how far You have removed our sins from us! Thank You, Lord!

But no matter where I stand now (and again only because of YOU) it does not change who I was when I started! Yes, I was a sinner but too often we want to sweeten that by saying “I am a sinner saved by grace.” And most assuredly that is true. All praise to You, Lord, for your grace and mercy but it doesn’t take away from the fact that I am a sinner and until I am welcomed into Your eternal presence that’s what I am – a sinner.

I think part of the issue is that by rejecting the “worms” we make ourselves feel better about ourselves. But for me at least it helps to keep my humility at a healthy level. I am totally dependent upon You, Lord, for my salvation. Left to my own ways, I am nothing. I am the lowest of the low. Lord, thank You for lifting me up out of the pit of despair. Thank You for giving of Yourself – for sacrificing Yourself “for such a worm as I.” You “came down to my level, When I couldn’t get up to Yours.”  May I ever be humbly grateful, Amen

Sept 10th, Sat, 5:18 am