Be Thou My Vision: God’s Wisdom, Presence, and Provision in Parenting

Whenever I hear the hymn, Be Thou My Vision, it takes me back to my wedding day when our friends and family gathered to witness my husband and I exchange vows. As our voices united in song, the words exhorted us to keep Christ in the forefront of our marriage. 

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art

Since then, the words of this hymn also speak to me as a parent. Especially this verse:

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

Martin Luther once said, “Next to the word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our hearts, minds, and spirits.” There’s something about the truth of who God is and what he has done when it is set to song that stirs our affections and shapes our hearts. This is true of the words to Be Thou My Vision. It reminds me of truths found in God’s Word—truths that shape my parenting.

Jesus is Our Source of Wisdom

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word. As a parent, I’m often uncertain. I don’t know what to do or say in circumstances with my children. I don’t know if I should say “yes” to this request or “no” to that one. I often don’t know the best ways to guide them in this fallen world. But there is One who does. Isaiah prophesied of him: “And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD” (Is. 11:2). Colossians 2:3 tells us that it in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” As parents, you and I don’t know all things. We are limited by our humanity. We are blinded by our sin. We need the wisdom of Christ, and he is the fountain and source of all wisdom. We have access to his wisdom through prayer and his word. When we lack wisdom in our parenting, we turn to the One who loves to share it with us (James 1:5).

He is With Us As We Navigate Parenthood

I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord. Parenting can feel like a lonely endeavor. From the parent who is at home with littles all day, to the parent who raises children on their own, to the spouses who can’t agree on parenting decisions, to the parent whose parenting choices seem so different from everyone else’s—raising children can be lonely and isolating. In our loneliness, we can grow weary from bearing the responsibility of parenting in a dark and fallen world. Yet, for believers, we are never alone; our Savior is with us. And Jesus promises rest in his presence: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29). Even more, he promises mercy and grace to help us in our troubles (Heb. 4:16). We have a Savior who is with us as we parent our children. Emmanuel, God with us, promises to be our strength in weakness. He will never reject us or abandon us. He is our help and hope in all our sorrows and fears for our children. What grace!

God is Our Perfect Father, and We Belong to Him

Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son. This hymn also encourages us with the reminder that God is our Father. As our Father, he perfectly parents us. He teaches and trains us in how to live for him. He disciplines and guides us in holiness. He loves, cares for, and provides all our needs. And he does so because we are his adopted children. By grace and through faith in Christ’s perfect life and sacrificial death on our behalf, we are adopted as sons and daughters of God. We belong to him. As parents ourselves, we can look to our good Father in heaven as our guide in parenting our own children. We love our children, how much more so does our Father, whose love is perfect and eternal? 

We are United to Our Triune God

Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one. This final line of the stanza culminates in this ultimate truth: through faith in Christ and his work on our behalf, we are united to him. All that he has done is given to us, and God now looks at us and sees Christ’s righteousness. Further, he’s given us his Spirit who lives and reigns within us. As Jesus said in John 17: “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (vv.22-23). The same Spirit who was present at creation and who raised Christ from the dead—this Spirit lives within us, teaching, guiding, counseling, and sanctifying us. It’s because of this unity that we have access to the wisdom of Christ, to his presence, and to God our Father. When parenting feels overwhelming or when we feel helpless, we must remember we are never hopeless, for the Spirit of Christ is at work in and through us. 

Parents, let us sing Be Thou My Vision, and keep the Lord ever before us. We are united to him and in him we find our wisdom, hope, and strength to raise our children. 

Interested in learning more about gospel-centered parenting? Join us for our 2023 Rooted Conference in Nashville, TN. This year, we are offering a single-day ticket for Saturday’s two featured speakers, and two parenting workshops, as well as worship and fellowship, for those who are unable to join for the whole three-day conference. 

Christina Fox is a counselor, retreat speaker, and author of multiple books including Like Our Father: How God Parents Us and Why that Matters for Our Parenting. You can find her at .

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