Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.” Is 12:2
I’ve recently had the joy of being encouraged seeing God’s hand bless our women’s retreat. I’ve also just returned from a women’s conference and was thoroughly refreshed. As life would have it, I’m back in the saddle again resuming my daily responsibilities. Yesterday the Lord brought to my mind the hymn “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus”. I had spent time in His word and then set my heart to pray but then came a sudden rush of sadness. As I was praying for certain family members the despair of one of my children who is a prodigal, sucked all joy out of my heart. I proceeded to pray for this child and my two of my grandchildren of whom are also being affected. But then there was the voice of the Lord who has this glorious way of whispering the right thing at the right time. Not only did He remind me of this hymn but He led me to read the story about the circumstances in which this song was composed. So here I share it with you.
From her childhood, the call to missionary service was the guiding motivation for Louisa M. R. Stead (c. 1850-1917). Born in Dover, England, and converted at the age of nine, Stead came to the United States in 1871, living in Cincinnati. She attended a camp meeting in Urbana, Ohio, where she dedicated her life to missionary service. I’ll health prevented her from serving initially. She married in 1875, and the couple had a daughter, Lily. Hymnologist Kenneth Osbeck describes a major turning point in the family’s life:
“When the child was four years of age, the family decided one day to enjoy the sunny beach at Long Island Sound, New York. While eating their picnic lunch, they suddenly heard cries of help and spotted a drowning boy in the sea. Mr. Stead charged into the water. As often happens, however, the struggling boy pulled his rescuer under water with him, and both drowned before the terrified eyes of wife and daughter. Out of her ‘why?’ struggle with God during the ensuing days glowed these meaningful words from the soul of Louisa Stead.”
The hymn, “’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus” was inspired by this personal tragedy.
Louisa Stead was left with no means of support except the Lord. She and her daughter experienced dire poverty. One morning, when she had neither funds or food for the day, she opened the front door and found that someone had left food and money on her doorstep. Louisa and her daughter ended up dedicating their lives by serving on the mission field.
Ladies, it can be so easy to say the words of our trust in the Lord especially when we’ve been blessed with times of refreshing. Our greatest trust however must be proved by our greatest tests. My tests have been nothing compared to this woman, but what a personal lesson that whatever God allows may I sing in the sadness, “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus”.
’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.