“faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. Hebrews 11:1-2
Many people know the hymn, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” The melody soothes, the words bring hope. But like many familiar pieces of verse, Louisa Stead’s words can easily slip like quicksilver off our lips without lodging in our hearts and minds.
We may be tempted to think that Louisa wrote the words while gazing at a beautiful sunset with a light breeze rippling through her hair. In fact, however, it was while living in a culture far from her own and after experiencing deep sorrow that the poem was written. She had planned to be a missionary in China but hopes were dashed when her health failed. Later her husband drowned in a tragic accident after a picnic on the beach. Shortly after the death of her husband, Louisa took their young daughter and moved to the African continent where she served as a missionary, later remarrying, raising her daughter, and faithfully ministering to others.
Easily overlooked in the familiar poetry is one line: “I’m so glad I learned to trust you, precious Jesus, Savior, Friend.” Louise learned to trust God not through the easy spaces of life, but through the dark nights when all seemed bleak and dark. Many of us plaintively cry out for more faith but too often we want that faith handed to us without going through the process that God chooses.
“Giants of the faith” known in history and lauded in scripture are those who deeply believed God even when they could not see His love or plan. In spite of pain and discouragement, Louise Stead could end her hymn with the words, “And I know that you are with me, will be with me to the end.”
Father, your promise to be with me gives so much comfort, but I confess that I too often want that presence without any pain. Teach me more about your love and help me trust you in all circumstances.
By Marilyn Ehle
Used by Permission