Some of the best Christian music out there was written centuries ago. My favorite hymn is “Before The Throne of God Above.” I made a cover of it many years ago and interestingly, it is the most widely viewed video on my YouTube channel.

I love this hymn because it speaks to something which most of us, whether or not you’re a believer, face: the sense of guilt and regret over failures and our personal short-comings, as well as that of others.

Oftentimes we may not even want to admit it to ourselves, but our conscience weighs heavily on us for these things. Add to that the never ending barrage of demands and micro-aggressions (or for some, over aggressions) that we face on a day to day basis, it is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed and besieged.

This is the human condition – to daily be faced with our short-comings and limitations, as well as that of others – we daily face injustice and oppression and sometimes, our own self-betrayal. The feelings of disappointment, shame, hurt and even isolation that this engenders in us are definitely not fun to deal with or to work through.

The fact that we’re inundated with social media exhibiting the highlight reels of others often doesn’t help. Here you are, feeling somewhat depleted and grieved, while the rest of the world is living their best life. More than ever, under the duress of social media, we are pressured to put our best face forward and repress all unpleasant feelings.

Statistics show that the younger generation – youths between the ages of 15-25, is beset with a mental health crisis. They are sometimes derisively called “The Snowflake Generation” because they tend to be more reactive and less tractable with work and life demands than people in gen X or Y are more pragmatic and accepting of.

This “snowflake” generation has exhibited a much higher incidence of depression and suicidality.

I think this is in no small part due the culture of being immersed and engaged in social media 24/7. It really does a number on you when all you see is people ‘living their best lives.’ The younger generation struggles with the pressure to perform more than ever before. YOLO has turned from a celebratory slogan to a word that invokes FOMO. Attendant with that is the sense of “never being good enough.” We have gotten used to the hustle culture of constantly being plugged in and running the rat race on social media. Frankly, it is exhausting.

While I do not belong to this generation, I can identity with some of their mental health struggles because I have gone through inter-relational trauma from abusive relationships and the imprints of that trauma has had far reaching consequences on my identity and coping mechanisms. Over the years, however, I have learned to find stability and strengthen myself from the core – I have developed a healthier sense of self and built habits that help me feel grounded and solid.

One of the things I do to stay sane is to worship with good old fashioned hymns.

“Before The Throne of God Above” speaks to the idea that in spite of all the imperfections and shortcoming I have, He sees me and loves me as I am. Alan Yarbrough, in his Medium article, unpacks this idea further.

Jesus makes an end to all the guilt I carry (real or false) because of the price that He paid on the cross.

He absorbed it all, all of the hatred, crime, lying, depression, war, genocide, rape, injustice and what not that goes on in this world. He took it all. He took all the pain so that I can have the courage to carry on in this world living from my center and resting in and sharing His message of hope and healing to the rest of the world.

Indeed, He is my hope and my joy, and in Him I find the fullness of being.

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest, whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me

My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look, and see Him there
(One Jesus Christ, Holy Savior) who made an end to all my sin

Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

You are my Saviour
You are my God, my King
Sing again, “When Satan tempts me to despair”

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within (there’s much guilt within)
(This is what I do) upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin (all of it!)

Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there, the Risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness (my righteousness, born from His righteousness)
The great unchangeable I am
The King of glory and of grace!

One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ, my Savior and my God (one with Himself)

One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ, my Savior and my God

With Christ, my Savior and my God (with Christ)
With Christ, my Savior and my God
Thank You Lord Jesus
No Savior but You
No Savior but You

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