Posted by: rcottrill | November 30, 2011

‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Words: Louisa M. R. Stead (b. _____ c. 1850; d. Jan. 18, 1917)
Music: William James Kirkpatrick (b. Feb. 27, 1838; d. Sept. 20, 1921)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

This seems to be the only hymn from the pen of Louisa Stead (whose middle names we do not know), but it is an excellent one. The tragic circumstances preceding the writing of it, are described in the Wordwise Hymns link. But there is a postscript worth adding.

After the death of her husband, the author went through some dark days. Not only was she grieving over the loss of her husband, but now she and her little daughter had to find some means of financial support. She looked to the Word of God, and the great hymns of the faith to sustain and encourage her. She states:

“When I tried to sing More Love to Thee, O Christ, I remembered that Mrs. Prentiss had cried out for more love, when she lost her two children in an epidemic some years ago. But I do not need to pray for love. God knows I love Him, and I know He loves me. What I need is an extra measure of faith and trust to believe that His providence is still at work, and that His hand can still guide me through the bleak, unknown future.”

One afternoon, when mother and daughter had nothing left in the house to eat, the two prayed earnestly that the Lord would provide. The next morning, Mrs. Stead found a large basket of food on their doorstep, along with an envelope containing enough money to buy shoes for her daughter Lily. “We trusted God, and He has not failed us,” she said to Lily. It was out of such experiences of trusting the Lord and seeing Him work, that the hymn was written.

Three Hebrew words in the Old Testament that are translated “trust” give us a useful definition of what is meant. (These are paralleled by several Greek words in the New Testament.) There is the Hebrew word chacah, meaning to take refuge in, to flee for protection to; and the word batach, meaning to have bold confidence, to feel safe; and yachal, meaning to wait hopefully and expectantly.

To trust in God is to take refuge in him, to have bold confidence in Him, and wait expectantly for Him to act on our behalf. Not surprisingly, since its focus is on the devotional life of the saints, many references to trust are found in the book of Psalms: chacah (24 times; e.g. Ps. 118:8-9; cf. 144:2); batach (45 times; e.g. Ps. 22:4-5; 28:7); yachal (19 times; e.g. Ps. 42:11; 71:14). The latter word is consistently translated “hope” in Psalms (NKJV), but Job cries, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust [yachal, hope in] Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him” Job 13:15).

To trust in God also means we will “rest upon His promise,” (CH-1). When we do, we’ll be able to testify, as the refrain of our hymn does, “How I’ve proved Him [faithful] o’er and o’er.” This trust begins when we reach out in faith to claim His salvation–when we “trust His [Christ’s] cleansing blood” (CH-2). The other side of the coin is “from sin and self to cease” (CH-3).

As Thomas Kelly puts it, in his hymn, Praise the Saviour, Ye Who Know Him:

Trust in Him, ye saints, forever,
He is faithful, changing never.

The Lord is infinitely trust-worthy. Are you resting in His faithful word, in your daily walk? And can you testify, with Louisa Stead:

CH-4) I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Saviour, friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Questions:
1) With what particular things in your own life are you conscious of trusting in the Lord today?

2) Why is it so many (even professing believers) fail to trust in God?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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