By Sarah Beasley Rein

A few years ago, our school created a hymn canon, with great hymns of the faith chosen to correlate with the seasons – the beginning of a new school year, Advent, spring. Each song ushers us into a different rhythm, a slight change in the pace of our days.

The hymn for this summer is “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.” The author, Stuart Townsend, when commenting on the process of hymn-writing, states, “Worship begins with God … we live in an alarmingly self-oriented society, where the bottom line to every choice we make, from relationships to religion seems to be … but does it make me happy? If we’re not careful we can bring this attitude into church, and even into our worship. We can come looking for the experience, for the ‘warm feelings.’”

Images of happiness fill our summertime reel, don’t they? Swimming, the beach, sleeping late, Father’s Day, grilling out, fireworks, and free time. Rest is good for our souls, and this season is a gift from a gracious Father.

But the gifts are only a shadow. Their goodness disappears without the blinding light of God’s love.

When sharing the process of penning “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us,” Townsend wrote, “I’d been meditating on the cross, and in particular what it cost the Father to give up His beloved Son to a torturous death on a cross. And what was my part in it? Not only was it my sin that put him there, but if I’d lived at that time, it would probably have been me in that crowd, shouting with everyone else ‘crucify Him.’ It just makes his sacrifice all the more personal, all the more amazing, and all the more humbling.”

As we delight in summer’s bounty of friends and sunshine and food, may we meditate daily on what the Father did for us so we can enjoy His blessings rightly. May we also be reminded that our happiness, our transient feelings, are not the goal. Because this summer will include thunderstorms, overtired parents, bored kids, Father’s Day without a beloved earthly dad, and a hundred other bitter disappointments.

God’s love for His children will still be just as deep. What Jesus did will still be just as glorious.

Father, orient our hearts so that the gospel brings fresh life each morning. Let us never get over what Christ did to bring many sons to glory. Help us not to trust our feelings that change by the moment but to trust in the Rock of our salvation. All glory to your name, God – for every precious gift of this life, but most of all, for Your Son.

Sarah Rein and her husband, Trey, are raising their four children in Brandon, where Trey is a school principal and Sarah is home a LOT. Luckily she’s an introvert who enjoys reading and learning about new things and people. The Reins love their church family at Lakeside Presbyterian and coffee.