Take Me as I am
In a house in an Australian city, a man lay dying. Not long before, he had been strong and vigorous, an excellent hand at his trade, and popular among his companions. He had recently been married, and life had seemed to open before him with brightest promise. But these favorable circumstances, instead of inducing a thankful recognition of the goodness of God, only caused a feeling of pride and independence. Unconscious of any need of God, and well satisfied with himself and his good character, he lived a godless life.
The man who begins by forgetting God may at length openly deny Him; and so it came to pass that this young man, like many others, fell as an easy prey to the craft of one of Satan’s ministers, to ridicule the Bible, to scoff at Christians as weak and credulous, and to talk with great swelling words about the rights of man.
But God broke in upon his peace and prosperity. He took away his vigorous health, and laid him on a sickbed, with the gracious design of teaching him his weakness and need. Not at once, however, was this blessed result reached, for his nature was impatient and rebellious.
Messages of mercy were carried to him by friends who loved him, and knew the danger of his position, but he refused to listen.
Such is man by nature! He hears of the value of his soul, the tender love of Christ, the awful reality of judgment to come, the glories of Heaven, the wrath of God; but none of these things move him. He may be thrilled by a fiction or melted by a drama, but of the truth of God he says, “What a weariness it is!” Even so this dying man closed ear and heart against the message of salvation.
How wonderful is the long-suffering of God! He could wait, but His purpose of mercy was not to be frustrated. If the sick man’s ear seemed closed against the Word when spoken, it was to be quietly opened by the voice of a sweet song.
During the weary hours, his wife waited upon him with all the attention and solicitude that true affection could prompt. Although not a Christian, she had no sympathy with the direction her husband had taken. Like many others, if asked, she would have said she desired to be saved; but as yet, her salvation did not extend beyond the use of certain expressions, and a regard for external forms. She had a tuneful voice, and often, when about the household work, would find relief from her burden of cares in singing the simple hymns she had learned. At such times, her husband liked to listen; but it was the pleasing music, and not the sentiment, that he cared for.
The tune of the hymn called, “Take Me As I Am” was a special favorite of his. As he lay on his weary pillow, the sweet refrain would often recur to him; and at length, unconsciously, he began to dwell upon the words and their meaning. He soon found out that, simple as they were, they spoke of something he had not understood.
He considered himself clever in argument, but here was something that could not be argued against until it had been tested by experience. If he had never come to Christ as a sinner, how could he honestly deny the truth of that Scripture, familiar enough, but still a dead letter to him, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37
And then, again, conscience told him he was a sinner. All his clever sophistries could not dispose of that fact; and the more he thought of it, the more he felt he would like to know by experience whether Christ indeed received sinners; for, once this fact was proved, there was an end to all argument, to doubt, and to scepticism forever. If, moreover, this fact was not determined, his infidelity was based on ignorance, and how awful the consequences might be!
Thus the Spirit of God was gradually pulling down the strongholds, and preparing the way for the entrance of the Son of God into this poor sinner’s heart.
One day, he called his wife to his bedside. “Sing, ‘Take Me As I Am’,” he asked.
As she did so, he seemed to listen with more than mere admiration, for he heard the voice of God speaking to his soul, and when she came to the words,— “And this my plea, Christ died for me, Oh, take me as I am,” the proud man turned his face, and sobbed like a little child. “Will He really take me as I am? Will He receive one who has so often spoken against Him, and lived all his life in hatred and opposition to Him?”
The very words of the hymn were an encouragement, and Scripture assurances were plain. The moment when this poor sinner was to know their truth in his own heart had now come. (John 7:17).
“Then, Jesus, take me as I am!” he responded; and in self-abandoning trust he cast himself upon the Saviour of sinners, and then and there found sweet peace and rest.
His independence and self-sufficiency were completely broken down, and his pride laid in the dust. Self, with its arrogant importance retreated more and more as Christ came into view; and during the few short days he was permitted to remain in this world, the once bold scoffer delighted to tell of the grace and excellence of the Saviour he had found.
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” I John 1:7-10