“For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.” – Psalm 71:5

We are thrilled to share a series of brief accounts of how some of the great hymns of our faith were written. Each synopsis has been compiled through the research of Jerry Vargo and is shared by permission. It is our hope that these stories will be a help and encouragement to your Christian walk. This week we read the story behind a comforting hymn, “ Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”

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This hymn talks about the joy that can be found having faith in God! Although its author, Louisa M. R. Stead, experienced the terrible loss of her husband, she found resolution in her relationship with God. Through the creation of this hymn, she has helped many people deal with similar tragedy in their own lives – simply by encouraging them to trust in Jesus.

Louisa Stead was born in Dover, England in 1850. As a teenager, Stead felt called to be a missionary. She went to America at age 21, and lived for a time in Cincinnati, Ohio. Attending a camp meeting in Urbana, Ohio, she felt the missionary calling even more strongly. Unfortunately, she was not able to go to China as she had intended, due to her frail health. She married a Mr. Stead in 1875 and moved to New York, where the couple had a daughter, Lily.

When Lily was four years of age, the family decided one day to enjoy the sunny beach at Long Island Sound, New York. While eating their picnic lunch, they suddenly heard cries of help and spotted a drowning boy in the sea. Mr. Stead charged into the water. As often happens, however, the struggling boy pulled his rescuer under water with him, and both drowned before the terrified eyes of Louisa and her daughter. Out of her ‘why?’ struggle with God, during the ensuing days, glowed the meaningful words of the hymn Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus from the soul of Louisa Stead.

Soon after, Louisa and Lily left for the Cape Colony, South Africa, where Louisa worked as a missionary for fifteen years. 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).

Louisa passed away after a long illness, in 1917, at her home near the Mutambara Mission. Following her death, it was recorded by the Christians in Rhodesia that: “We miss her very much but her influence goes on as our 5,000 converts continually sing this hymn in their native language”.

Perhaps the hymn might be best described as a hymn based on the name of Jesus. Indeed, “Jesus” is sung twenty-five times if one sings all four stanzas and the refrain.

Stanza one is a simple statement of “trust in Jesus.”

Stanza two continues the theme of trust, drawing upon the “cleansing blood” of Jesus.

Stanza three stresses that one should die to “sin and self” by “simply taking life and rest, and joy and peace” in Jesus

Stanza four is a personal witness by the author that she is “so glad I learned to trust thee.” and with a fleeting eschatological reference, “thou art with me, wilt be with me to the end.”

 

1. ‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take him at his word;
just to rest upon his promise,
and to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”

(Refrain) Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!

2. O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
just to trust his cleansing blood;
and in simple faith to plunge me
neath the healing, cleansing flood! (Refrain)

3. 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. (Refrain)

Enjoying the Journey

Enjoying the Journey exists to evangelize the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ, encourage pastors and local churches, and equip believers to walk with God and serve Him each day. Through audio, video, and print resources we are seeking to preach the gospel, teach the Word of God, and reach this generation for Christ.

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