Words: Luther Burgess Bridgers (b. Feb. 14, 1884; d. May 27, 1948)
Music: Luther Burgess Bridgers
Note: The heart-rending story behind this hymn is relevant to its title and its content. I encourage you to go to the Wordwise Hymns link and read it.
Robert Ingersoll was an American Civil War veteran, an attorney, and a gifted orator. He was also a sworn enemy of the Christian faith. In speeches sometimes three hours long, he denounced all who were stupid enough to believe the Bible. The infidel mocked Christianity at every turn, referring to God’s plan of salvation in Christ as “that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance called faith.” A. B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination, labeled him a “daring blasphemer.”
Then, in 1899, Robert Ingersoll died. And printed funeral notices made this startling announcement: “There will be no singing.” Well, how could there be? It is a sad but fitting commentary on the life of a man lived in bitter rebellion against a God whose very existence he refused to acknowledge. The intelligentsia called him brilliant, but the Bible declares him a fool (Ps. 14:1). He was a man “having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). And all too often the naive multitudes who paid a dollar each (a huge sum in those days) to hear his rants were like him. No singing? No wonder! Nothing to sing about.
Are we to believe that the countless millions, who have lived and died praising the Saviour, know nothing, while a man blinded by arrogant pride has the right answers? The Word of God says of him and his kin, “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14). “These speak evil of whatever they do not know….They are clouds without water…trees without fruit” Jude 1:10, 12). “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22).
Enough! Let’s turn from Mr. Ingersoll’s folly to bask in the saving grace and love of God. The God who gives songs in the night (Job 35:10). The God whom two beaten and imprisoned missionaries lauded with hymns of praise, at the midnight hour (Acts 16:23-25). Those who know God, those whom He has met in such crisis times, can hardly help but sing. As David writes, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him” (Ps. 28:7).
That was the testimony of Luther Bridgers too. He puts it this way, “There’s within my heart a melody, / Jesus whispers, sweet and low.” His wonderful gospel song is not the deluded fantasy of a fool. It is the testimony of a heartbroken man, who could say with assured confidence in the Lord, “He Keeps Me Singing.”
What kind of confidence did Bridgers have? Confidence that God is always with us in the furnace of affliction, that He’s always in control, that He knows best, that He has a good and gracious purpose in what has happened, even in the painful things, and that all will be made right one day. CH-4 and 5 relate to some of these things.
Though sometimes He leads through waters deep,
Trials fall across the way,
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep,
See His footprints all the way.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Sweetest name I know,
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go.
Soon He’s coming back to welcome me,
Far beyond the starry sky;
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown,
I shall reign with Him on high.
1) Where would an agnostic like Mr. Ingersoll find a sense of security and peace of mind?
2) Even if you didn’t have enough Bible knowledge to refute every argument of such a person, what would you like to tell him about the Lord and your relationship with Him?