Well our feeble frame he knows
I do like a traditional hymn. Perhaps you do too? Have you ever suddenly found yourself singing the words to a hymn and wondering why it came to mind? It happened to me last week. I was in the kitchen making a cup of tea, when I found myself singing the line “well our feeble frame he knows”. Thinking about those words stopped me in my tracks.
The whole verse is:
“Father-like, he tends and spares us,
well our feeble frame he knows;
in his hands he gently bears us,
rescues us from all our foes:
widely as his mercy flows”
You may recognise these words from the hymn “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven”, which was written by Henry Francis Lyte in 1834. Lyte knew the value of a caring father figure from personal experience. His own father was a “ne-er do well … more interested in fishing and shooting than in facing up to his family responsibilities”, who deserted his family. But the headmaster at Lyte’s school then “welcomed him into his own family”, paid his school fees and effectively adopted him.
Perhaps these differing experiences of fatherhood is what inspired Lyte to write a hymn based on Psalm 103. The words that had struck me take verses 13-15 as their inspiration.
“As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on
those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.”
The message is that God knows our limitations, and doesn’t expect more from us than we are capable of. I hope that it encourages you, as much as it encouraged me, to know that our heavenly father tends and spares us.