Hymn History: Jesus I Am Resting, Resting December 28, 2022

Jesus I am Resting, Resting

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2

Today’s hymn history is an amazing account of God using a personal connection to a song to mend breaking hearts. It recounts how the truth of God‘s Word through song can encourage a tender heart to tremendous service for our sweet Savior.

Born in 1842, Jean Sophia Pigott was the sister of William Pigott, a future missionary with the China Inland Mission. Early on, Jean distinguished herself as a poet. Before the age of 35, she published a book of poetry entitled “A Royal Service”, the lyrics to Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting were first found here. 

Little more is known about this fine Christian lady. However, it is clear she was a woman who knew and loved God, and one who made a great difference in her family. Jean passed away at the age of 37. She would never live to see the great reach of her hymns and poems.    

Her brother, William, was inspired by the ministry of Hudson Taylor and became a part of the China Inland Mission. He was described by a dear college friend: 

“If ever a man lived who was utterly in earnest it was Thomas Wellesley Pigott. Whenever he returned to this country from his chosen field of labour, his flowing speech, in private and public, was always and only of China and her people, whom he loved so much. It was impossible to remain indifferent or unsympathetic in the presence of such zeal...It was such a reality that to spend his time, his strength, his mental and physical abilities, and his money freely and wholly in the cause of China was to him the most natural, and for him the only reasonable and possible way to live.”

No doubt the same desire to serve the King that is expressed in the poems of Jean also flowed through the heart of this passionate servant. He left his home to go to China in 1879 (three years before the death of his sister). 

We can be confident that William introduced Hudson Taylor to his sister’s hymns. Taylor immediately claimed Pigott’s hymn, “Jesus I Am Resting, Resting” as his life song. Many of those around him attested that seldom the day went by without him humming or whistling it. During the dark and gruesome days of the Boxer Rebellion, this song was always on his lips. 

One day, after hearing dreadful news about missionaries being held hostage, he simply began to whistle the tune to this hymn. He was angrily questioned about how he could whistle during such terrible times. Taylor patiently responded, “Would you have me anxious and troubled? That would not help them, and would certainly incapacitate me for my work. I have just to roll the burden on the Lord.

This great practice is one that characterized the life of many missionaries in those days. Trusting in the Lord in all things was no idle speech for them. William Pigott was arrested in 1900. This faithful man rested on the Lord as he was marched for many miles in his chains. William, his faithful wife, his son, and several other fellow missionaries were beheaded on July 9, 1900, in a public execution.

Now, over a century later, let us not just hear the sweet words of this song; let us truly learn to rest in the Lord Jesus. Always seeking Him. Let His great love satisfy your heart today! My friend, let us rest in Jesus as we work and wait for Thee.”

1. Jesus, I am resting, resting
in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
of thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon thee,
as thy beauty fills my soul,
for by thy transforming power,
thou hast made me whole. 

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
of thy loving heart.

2. O how great thy lovingkindness,
vaster, broader than the sea!
O how marvelous thy goodness
lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in thee, Beloved,
know what wealth of grace is thine,
know thy certainty of promise
and have made it mine. (Refrain)

3. Simply trusting thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold thee as thou art,
and thy love, so pure, so changeless,
satisfies my heart;
satisfies its deepest longings,
meets, supplies its ev’ry need,
compasseth me round with blessings:
thine is love indeed. (Refrain)

4. Ever lift thy face upon me
as I work and wait for thee;
resting ‘neath thy smile, Lord Jesus,
earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
sunshine of my Father’s face,
keep me ever trusting, resting,
fill me with thy grace. (Refrain)

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  1. Raymond Ricard on December 29, 2022 at 10:03 PM

    What a blessing that our Lord left us through His dear children in this hymn of faith.
    It make Ephesians 5 v.19 much more easy to put in practice.
    To Him be all the glory.

    • Micah Hendry on December 30, 2022 at 2:24 AM


  2. Theuns Blom on July 18, 2023 at 8:37 AM

    Beautiful and very touching!! Respect!!!

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