“I AM HIS CHILD”
“Praise ye the Lord…for He is good: His mercy endureth for ever” (Ps. 106:1)
INTRO.: A song which praises the Lord for His mercy that makes it possible for us to become His spiritual children is “I Am His Child” (#15 in Hymns for Worship Revised). The text was written and the tune was composed both by Donald M. Alexander (b. 1946). The song was copyrighted in 1986 and first published in the 1987 Hymns for Worship edited by Dane K. Shepard and R. J. Stevens. It is related to another Alexander song, “Mended and Whole” (#369). Concerning these hymns, Alexander wrote, “One day a neighbor came to our door with a Bible in hand which his mother had given him. He had been crying. He told me that he had just learned that his mother had died. He said that his mother had wanted him to start going to church, that he didn’t know much about it, but his mother had given him the Bible shortly before she died. This neighbor was a very worldly man, having a rough background which included drugs, alcohol, and immoral lifestyle. I had tried previously to get him to go to church with us and to have a Bible class. He had previously refused. But on this day he was ready to try. We began to study the Bible and after a few sessions and his attendance at church, he was baptized. As he came up out of the water, he had tears in his eyes and said, ‘I don’t know much about this. You will have to treat me like a baby.’ I reassured him by telling him that the Lord now considers him a babe in Christ, a child of God – His child. He got a large grin on his face and said ‘I am his child. That’s great!’ In the days after his baptism, we studied the Bible and prayed together. He and I did not have the same back-ground but now we had Jesus in common. I began to write ‘I Am His Child’ shortly afterward.”
Unfortunately, that is not the end of the story. Alexander continued, “However, some grow weary and pursue sin. About four months later, this new brother slipped back into sin for a moment’s reckless folly. One afternoon he became intoxicated, grabbed his truck keys, drove one mile to a shopping center to purchase some liquor. When he came out of the liquor store, he got into an argument with a man over how he had parked. The man, claiming to be afraid, drove to his home, got his gun, came back and shot my new brother three times as he sat in his truck. He died instantly. I was asked to identify the body at the morgue, an experience I will never forget. The thought occurred to me that here was a man broken by sinful living who, for a short time, was mended and whole. I wrote ‘Mended and Whole’ after performing a memorial service for one who had not learned to follow the Savior in the control of his anger and paid dearly for it” (Guardian of Truth; Vol. XL, No. 16, p. 19; August 15, 1996). The arrangement of the music for “I Am His Child” was made by R. J. Stevens. Alexander has written either words or both words and music for several other songs in Hymns for Worship, including “Saints, Lift Your Voices,” “Blessed in Christ,” “In the Glory of His Cross,” “Above All, Love,” and “Brotherly Love.” Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, “I Am His Child” may be found only in Hymns for Worship, as well as a small booklet of his hymns which Don told me that he had published privately.
The song speaks of some of the blessings to which one who has become God’s child has access.
I. Stanza 1 mentions forgiveness
“Must I live a life of sinning Just to know God will forgive me?
Must I then be broken-hearted Just to know that He can cheer me?”
A. Must we live lives of sinning just to know that God will forgive? Or, in other words, shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Paul said, “Certainly not”: Rom. 6:1-2
B. The fact is that we can be assured of God’s forgiveness when we meet His revealed conditions because He Himself has promised it: 1 Jn. 1:9
C. We can also know that He will cheer us when broken hearted because He is the God of all comfort: 2 Cor. 1:3-4
II. Stanza 2 mentions the Lord’s presence
“Must I be in heaven with Him Just to know the Lord is reigning?
Must I see His acts of power Just to know that He is with me?”
A. We do not need to go to heaven to know that the Lord is reigning because it is so declared in His inspired word that Christ is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens: Heb. 8:1
B. Nor do we need to see His acts of power to believe in Him because these things were written that we might believe: Jn. 20:29-31
C. Because of His power manifested in these signs and because of His promise, we can know that the Lord is with us: Matt. 28:20
III. Stanza 3 mentions prayer
“Must my prayers be loudly spoken Just to know the Father hears me?
“Must I die with no one knowing Just to know the Father sees me?”
A. Prayers do not have to be loudly spoken in order to be heard by the Father: Matt. 6:5-7
B. Those who are children of God have His promise that His ears are open to their prayers: 1 Pet. 3:12
C. Therefore, whether we live or die, we can know that the Father sees and cares for us: Matt. 12:28-31
IV. Stanza 4 mentions the promise of Christ’s return
“Must I see the King leave heaven Just to keep my hopeful yearning?
Must I watch with perfect vision Just to know that He’s returning?”
A. We do not need to see the King leave heaven to know that He’s coming back because the angels stated that He will so come in like manner as He went into heaven: Acts 1:11
B. Certainly, we must watch and pray because we do not know the time of His return: Matt. 25:13
C. However, we do not need to watch with perfect vision because we know that He Himself has promised to return: Jn. 14:1-3
CONCL.: The chorus expresses praise to God for all these spiritual blessings in Christ.
“Praise the Lord! I am forgiven! And my Father up in heaven
Knows and hears and will be with me; Praise the Lord! I am His child!”
It is certainly a great source of encouragement for me to spend time contemplating, and singing about, these wonderful privileges and advantages that I have because “I Am His Child.”