Feb.2020 Hymn "'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" by Louisa M. R. Stead
As the story goes, Louisa M. R. Stead had a deep faith and desired to be a missionary to China. However, her frail health prevented her from doing this. She was married in 1875. One day, around the year 1879-1880, she went picnicking with her husband and daughter on a sunny beach at Long Island Sound, New York.. They heard the screams of a young boy, and her husband tried to rescue him from the water. Instead, she and her daughter Lily watched helplessly as both her husband and the young boy drowned. Louisa was surely devastated by the loss of her husband, but in addition to that, she and Lily were left without a means of support and were poor and destitute. Yet the Lord always provided, sometimes through the kindness of strangers. One day she even found some food and money left for her on her doorstep. It was in the midst of her trials that Louisa Stead penned the words to this hymn. The music to this hymn was written by William J. Kirkpatrick She and her daughter made it through this time and eventually became missionaries in South Africa where she married Robert Wodehouse, a native of South Africa. Because of her health, the family found it necessary to return to the United States in 1895. Wodehouse pastored a Methodist congregation during these years until, in 1900, they returned to the mission field, this time to the Methodist mission station at Umtali, Southern Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe). Her daughter Lily married after their return to Africa. Louisa retired because of ill health in 1911. Lily continued to serve for many years in South Rhodesia. Her mother passed away after a long illness in 1917 at her home in Penkridge near the Mutambara Mission, fifty miles from Umtali. Following her death, it was recorded that Christians in South Rhodesia continued to sing her hymn in the local Shona language. ’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. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6