"LORD, I BELIEVE"
"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us" (1 Jn. 4.16)
INTRO.: A song which talks about the importance of believing the love that God has for us is "Lord I Believe" (#377 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #667 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune was composed both by Aaron Wesley Dicus (1888-1978). The arrangement of the music was made by Margie H. Garrett, who was born in Franklin, KY, where she began studying the piano at age four and received her elementary and secondary education, graduating as valedictorian of the first class of the newly consolidated Franklin-Simpson County High School. After attending Freed Hardeman College (now University) and Western Kentucky University with a major in math and music, she married Louis Garrett and spent forty-three years working at Florida (Christian) College, during which time she variously taught high school math, music at the Florida College Academy, college piano, and music appreciation; worked all of those years with the Florida College Chorus, with whom she made 33 trips; helped with on-campus productions; and served one year as secretary to President James Rogers Cope, one year as Registrar, ten years as Business Manager, and 23 years as Development/Alumni Director. In addition, Margie has two daughters, Jan Smith and Dana Summers, and six grandchildren.
One of Margie’s greatest accomplishments in hymn work was in connection with Dicus. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, after he had retired from Florida College, he turned his attention to hymnwriting. Almost totally blind by that time, he could not write the tunes in his head, so one night he called Margie and asked her to set down for him a melody that he had conceived. Her manuscript page was the beginning of the hymn "Our God, He Is Alive," which was published in 1966. After that, she helped him with the harmony and they finally got it put down on paper as he wanted it to sound. A few months later, they followed the same procedure with "Lord, I Believe." The latter song was copyrighted in 1970. Its first publication in a hymnbook was when it was added as a back end-sheet beginning after 1973 in Sacred Selections, originally edited in 1956 by Ellis J. Crum. Also, Margie has harmonized and arranged hymns for Dusty Owens that have been published in Hymns for Worship edited by R. J. Stevens. These include "True Communion," "Set Your Mind," and "The Fruit Of The Spirit."
Since retiring from Florida College in June, 1993, Margie has lived in Huntsville, AL, where she has been Secretary of the Huntsville Opera Theater Board, Secretary of the Friends of the Symphony Board, accompanist for the Senior Center Orchestra and Chorus, President of the Huntsville Music Study Club, and Recording Secretary for the Alabama Federation of Music Clubs; served on four National Federation of Music Clubs committees; and attends the Weatherly Heights church of Christ. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "Lord, I Believe" appeared in the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons. Today it may be found in the 1975-1978 edition of the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1977 Special Sacred Selections also edited by Crum; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
The song specifies some things about God which we can and must believe.
I. Stanza 1 points to God’s creation
"When we behold the wonders of creation, The flowers that bloom, the raindrops as they fall,
The spacious skies, and life’s perpetuation, We cannot doubt that God controlled it all."
A. The entire heaven and earth are referred to as the creation of God: Gen. 1.1
B. The flowers, raindrops, skies, and life itself are all works of the Lord that we can behold: Ps. 46.8
C. These things lead us to conclude that God controlled it all because, like the heavens themselves, they declare God’s glory: Ps. 19.1
II. Stanza 2 points to God’s word
"No finite mind, by mortal calculation, Could frame the truths revealed within His word;
In every trace of nature’s operation, Thy voice, O God, in mystery can be heard."
A. No finite, mortal mind can calculate the ways of God: 1 Cor. 2.7-9
B. However, God has a message of truth: Ps. 119.160
C. And this message of truth, which is entirely consistent with every trace of nature’s operation, can be found within His revealed word: Jn. 17.17
III. Stanza 3 points to God’s redemption
"When we perceive the state of alienation In which the soul, from Thee, O God, was lost,
We must believe, by heaven’s ordination, Our Lord redeemed and paid the bitter cost."
A. Mankind is in a state of alienation from God because each person sins: Isa. 59.1-2, Rom. 3.23
B. However, God ordained, even before the foundation of the world, a plan for the salvation of mankind: 2 Tim. 1.9-10
C. This plan involved Jesus paying by His death the cost to redeem us from sin: 1 Pet. 1.18-21
IV. Stanza 4 points to God’s care
"Some days are filled with joy and expectation, Some days are dark, with cares we are beset.
In hours of joy or hours of tribulation, Be with us, Lord, lest we, lest we forget."
A. Surely, there are those days of joy and expectation when we can fully enjoy and appreciate all the good and perfect gifts that God has sent us: Jas. 1.17
B. However, all of us also have those dark days when we are beset with cares and troubles: Job 14.1
C. Yet, whether in times of happiness or times of sorrow, we can know that God will be with us and care for us: 1 Pet. 5.7
CONCL.: The chorus emphasizes the fact that we can believe in a Lord who is loving and kind to guide and protect us.
"Lord, I believe, yes I believe, I cannot doubt or be deceived;
The eye that sees each sparrow fall, His unseen hand is in it all."
Can we prove that God exists? Not in the same sense that one can prove a mathematical equation or a chemical reaction. But there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate to the honest person that it is far more reasonable to conclude that there must be a God who brought all things into existence, as revealed in the Bible, than to think otherwise. Therefore, the testimony of both nature and scripture, leads me to say, "Lord, I Believe."
NOTE: Words and music copyright 1970 by A. W. Dicus; assigned 1973 to Sacred Selections, Inc., Ellis J. Crum, owner, Kendallville, IN.