Whether it's a conversation with a friend, a word that is penned, or a craft that is made, everything we do leaves a stitch in the fabric of time. Join us as we investigate the stitches of the past and present...
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: ... a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7).
Along with many of the great old songs and hymns we still sing today, come many amazing stories. Here are three popular hymns and how they came to be written.
It is Well with My Soul
In 1871, Chicago attorney Horatio Spafford had invested his
fortune in real estate. But when the Chicago fire consumed the city that year,
he lost it all. Not long afterward, his four-year-old son died from scarlet
fever. Horatio poured himself into his work, helping to rebuild the city and
help the 100,000 left homeless by the fire.
Two years later, he and his wife decided to take their four
daughters to Europe for a vacation and to attend D.L. Moody’s evangelism
meetings in England. But Horatio was detained in New York on an urgent business
matter, so he sent his wife and daughters to Europe ahead of him on the French
ocean liner Ville du Havre. During the voyage, a collision with a smaller
vessel tore a gaping hole in the Ville du Havre’s side. She sank within two
hours, killing 226 passengers, including Horatio’s four daughters. His wife
clung to a piece of wreckage and was saved.
Horatio Spafford immediately booked passage to meet his wife
in Wales, where the 47 survivors had been taken. Late one night onboard ship,
the captain told him they were passing over the area where the Ville du Havre
had gone down. Back in his cabin, Horatio thought, “It is well; the will of God
be done.” Later the same year, he wrote the words to the beloved hymn.
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
The day before his wedding was to take place, Joseph
Scriven, 25, watched as the body of his fiancé was pulled from a lake in
Ireland following an accident. He decided to leave his life in Dublin and the tragedy behind him and
move to America. Ten years later, in 1855, Joseph received a letter regarding a
crisis his mother was facing at home in Ireland. He sent her a poem he’d
written, What aFriend We Have in Jesus. His mother gave it to a friend, who
had it published anonymously. It became a popular hymn but no one knew the
Joseph fell in love again, but his fiancé died in 1860 from
tuberculosis. In his grief, Joseph devoted himself to ministering to the poor
and to preaching, living a simple life in Port Hope, Canada. No one knew he had
a talent for poetry until shortly before his death. A friend found a copy of
the words to the now-famous hymn and asked him about it. Joseph explained that
he’d written it long ago for his mother, not intending for anyone else to see
it. He said, “The Lord and I did it between us.”
Jesus Loves Me
Anna and Susan Warner lived with their father, a successful
lawyer, in a townhouse in New York City. But in 1837, an economic downturn in
the city caused them great financial loss. They were forced to move to a
rundown house from the Revolutionary War period on Constitution Island, across
from the Military Academy at West Point.
To help their father with the family finances, Anna and
Susan began to write poems and stories for various publications, eventually
authoring 106 published pieces. They then embarked on writing a novel together,
entitled Say and Seal. It became a best-seller, second only to Uncle Tom’s
Cabin. The novel is about a little boy who is dying. His Sunday School teacher
takes him in his lap and makes up a little song, “Jesus loves me, this I know…”
When hymn writer William Bradbury read the book, he composed the simple music
to go with the words. The song became the most well-known children’s hymn in
Anna and Susan led Bible classes for West Point cadets for
40 years. They were both buried with full military honors at West Point, and
are the only civilians buried there. In their memory, their home on
Constitution Island is maintained as a museum.
Do you have a favorite hymn?
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