Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Hymns Written in Suffering

It is astonishing to discover how many authors of our hymns had some disability, or wrote out of some difficult experience in their lives. Perhaps we fail to realize that with the trials and tribulations there comes a new understanding of the grace of God.

  • Fanny Crosby (To God Be the Glory, All the Way My Saviour Leads Me) was blind.
  • As was George Matheson (O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go),
  • and William Walford (Sweet Hour of Prayer),
  • and Lelia Morris (What If It Were Today? Nearer, Still Nearer).
  • Annie Johnson Flint (He Giveth More Grace, God Hath Not Promised) was confined to her room with crippling arthritis most of her life.
  • So was Lydia Baxter (Take the Name of Jesus with You).
  • Charlotte Elliot was a bedridden invalid when she wrote the great invitation hymn, “Just As I Am.”
  • Catherine Hankey (I Love to Tell the Story, Tell Me the Old, Old Story) wrote her hymns while confined to bed to recover from a serious illness.
  • Eliza Hewitt (More About Jesus, When We All Get to Heaven) developed a severe spinal condition and was confined to bed for a long period.
  • Frances Ridley Havergal (Take My Life and Let It Be, Who Is on the Lord’s Side?) was in poor health all her life, and she died at the age of 43.
  • Thomas Chisholm (Great Is Thy Faithfulness) served as a pastor for a short time, but frail health forced him to resign.
  • Major Daniel Whittle (Showers of Blessing, Have You Any Room for Jesus?) was a Civil War amputee.
  • William Cowper (There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood) suffered from bouts of suicidal depression.
  • Joseph Scriven (What a Friend We Have in Jesus) seems to have suffered from depression as well.
  • Both George Young wrote “God Leads Us Along” as a declaration of faith after a time of great family tragedy.
  • Horatio Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” after his wife and three daughters drowned in a ship wreck.
  • Luther Bridgers wrote “He Keeps Me Singing” after the death of his wife and children in a fire.
  • Thomas Dorsey wrote “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” after his wife died giving birth to a son (who also died).

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  1. I can’t find the story but you just posted the words to the song “The Love of God”. I believe these words were found written on the wall in an insane asylum by a Christian man who had lost his way. Maybe you can find the story. Richard Borkowski

  2. Spafford’s wife Anna didn’t die in the shipwreck, she was rescued. Horatio then sailed to England to meet up with his wife and bring her back to Chicago. Anna gave birth to three more children, one of whom later died from pneumonia. In 1881, the family moved to Jerusalem near Bethlehem and opened an orphanage and hospital for children called The Spafford Children’s Center, which still operates today and has blessed many families who have suffered through the turbulent situation in the Middle East.


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