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Richard Baxter Poem on Facing Death

The “Poem of the Week” on my office door this week is Richard Baxter’s “Lord, It Belongs Not to My Care,” which I encountered while re-reading Packer’s Knowing God. It is a powerful testimony of trusting God, come what may. The hymn was published in 1681 in Baxter’s Poetical Fragments, where it is accompanied by this notation, “This Cov­e­nant my dear Wife in her for­mer Sick­ness sub­scribed with a Cheer­ful will.” This affirmation of trust, then, was not an idle abstract thought for Baxter, but one rooted in the real challenge of facing death.

Lord it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.

If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?

Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that unto God’s kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.

Come, Lord, when grace hath made me meet
Thy blessèd face to see;
For if Thy work on earth be sweet
What will Thy glory be!

Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior’s praise.

My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ’tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.

-Richard Baxter

 

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