I recently came across a hymn that I had never heard before. “My Goal is God Himself, Not Joy or Peace” was in devotional book and not identified as a hymn, so it took a little digging on my part to find it. I know so many hymns that it is rare for me to find a new one, but the lyrics of this one really stuck with me.
“My Goal is God Himself, Not Joy or Peace” was written by Frances Brook. She was the daughter of a minister and she wanted to be a missionary. Her two older sisters were both missionaries. But Frances was very frail and suffered from a chronic illness. The little bit I could find on her life was a biographical paragraph written in 1907 when she was 37 years old. According to this biography, she wrote four hymns that were published in different hymnals. Not much information for our information age.
The hymn is simply written. It can be sung to any 10.10.10.10 meter, so you can find one of those tunes you know and use it to sing the words. I found a lovely, more contemporary version of it on YouTube that you can check out here. Here are the lyrics:
So faith bounds forward to its goal in God,
And love can trust her Lord to lead her there;
Upheld by Him, my soul is following hard
Till God hath full fulfilled my deepest prayer.
No matter if the way be sometimes dark,
No matter though the cost be oft-times great,
He knoweth how I best shall reach the mark,
The way that leads to Him must needs be strait.
One thing I know, I cannot say Him nay;
One thing I do, I press towards my Lord;
My God my glory here, from day to day,
And in the glory there my great Reward.
These words are beautiful, and the expression in them is powerful. Here is a woman who was thwarted in her dreams because of her health, but she found a way to praise God and follow him. She kept God as her goal, instead of personal goals such as joy and peace. I wonder how many of us can pray, as she did, “at any cost, dear Lord, by any road.”