"’TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS"
"We trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men…" (1 Tim. 4.10)
INTRO.: A well known song that expresses trust in the Lord is "’Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" (#423 in Hymns for Worship Revised and #559 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Mrs. Louisa M. R. Stead, who was born in Dover, England around 1850. As a young woman, she came to the United States in 1871 and lived for a time in Cincinnati, OH, with friends. At a camp meeting in Urbana, OH, she expressed a desire to become a missionary to China, but her frail health prevented her from doing so. About 1875 she married a Mr. Stead, and to this home was born a daughter named Lily. The Steads moved to an area of New York City, NY. Around 1879 or 1880, when Lily was four years old, the family decided to go for a picnic on the sunny beach at Long Island Sound. While eating their lunch, they suddenly heard cries for help and spotted a drowning boy in the sound.
Mr. Stead charged into the water to help, but, as often is the case, the flailing boy pullied his would-be rescuer under the water with him and both drowned before the terrified eyes of wife and daughter. Although there is no definite evidence to support the theory, it is believed that out of the question, "Why," in her struggle during the ensuing days, these meaningful words flowed out of the pen of Louisa. Later in 1880, the widowed Mrs. Stead and her daughter left for South Africa where they worked as missionary teachers for fifteen years. The tune (Trust in Jesus) for her hymn was composed by William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921). The song was first published in his 1882 collection, Songs of Triumph, which he compiled for Thomas T. Tasker, Sr., Publisher of Philadelphia, PA, with John R. Sweney.
While in South Africa, Louisa eventually remarried. Her husband, Robert Wodehouse, was a native of the Cape Colony and a Methodist minister. In 1895, her poor health made necessary their coming to America, during which time Mr. Wodehouse served as minister with several Methodist churches. However, the cooler climate and skillful medical attention restored her physical strength so that in 1901, after a few years’ stay in the United States, she and her second husband were able to return to foreign service in Africa, this time at Umtali in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Louisa retired in 1911 and, after several years of prolonged illness, she died at her home of Penkridge, near Mutambara, about fifty miles from Umtali on Jan. 18, 1917. Her body was buried in a grave hewn from solid rock on the side of Black Mountain near her home.
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 both edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; and the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. Today it may be found in 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 1978/1983 (Church) Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; and the 1992 Songs of Faith and Praise edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs for the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
This song suggests four reasons why we should trust in Jesus.
I. Stanza 1 tells us that we can trust Jesus because of His word
"’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise; Just to know, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’"
A. Men often fail to keep their word, but Jesus’ word will always stand: Mt. 24.35, Jn. 12. 48
B. The word of Christ contains exceeding great and precious promises: 2 Pet. 1.2-4
C. But to have these promises we must accept, "Thus saith the Lord": Exo. 4.22, 1 Sam. 2.27, 2 Sam. 12.11. Hence, we must abide in His expressed will for everything we do, since this is one way that we show our trust in Him
II. Stanza 2 tells us that we can trust in Jesus because of His blood
"O, how sweet to trust in Jesus, "Just to trust His cleansing blood,
Just in simple faith to plunge me ‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood."
A. The blood of Jesus was shed for our sins: Mt. 26.28, Eph. 1.7
B. But how do we come in contact with it? we are baptized into His death: Rom. 6.3-4
C. The result is that we’re brought beneath the healing, cleansing flood: Eph. 5.25-27. Thus, we also show our trust in Christ by obeying Him in baptism to be cleansed by His blood
III. Stanza 3 tells us that we can trust because of His peace
"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"
A. Jesus has promised that once our sins are washed away, we can have peace with God: Jn. 14.27, Rom. 5.1
B. In addition, other barriers are broken down so that we can have peace with others too: Eph. 2.14-18
C. And because we have peace with God and man, we can have a peace within our own heart as well that will pass all understanding and guard our hearts in Christ Jesus: Phil. 4.6-7. This peace is one of the wonderful spiritual blessings of trusting in Jesus
IV. Stanza 4 tells us that we can trust Jesus because of His friendship
"I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend,
And I know that Thou art with me, Wilt be with me to the end."
A. Even Jesus’ enemies recognized that He came to be a friend to those who needed Him: Mt. 11.19
B. As a friend, Jesus will always be with us and never forsake us: Mt. 28.20, Heb. 13.5-6
C. Of course, there is the condition to being a friend with Jesus: Jn. 15.14. To be His friends, we must follow His will. Again, we show our trust in Jesus by keeping His commandments.
CONCL.: The chorus repeats the importance of trusting in Jesus.
"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."
There can be no greater peace in a person’s life than to realize, "’Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus."