“Jesus Will Never Fail”

“…For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5)

     INTRO.: A song which reminds us that our Lord and Savior has said that He will never leave us nor forsake us is “Jesus Will Never Fail.”  The text was written, under the pseudonym of Charlotte G. Homer, by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932). The tune was composed by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel Jr, who was obviously the son of the author.  Unfortunately, I have been able to gather very little information on Junior. According to one source I found, Charles H. Gabriel married Amelia Moore in 1888. It was his second marriage. Charles H. Gabriel Sr. died in Hollywood at the home of his son Charles H. Gabriel Jr. on September 14, 1932. This source wrote, “I have a card written from Charles Gabriel Jr. to one of my aunts; in the picture he is wearing a military outfit. Charles H. Gabriel Jr. was also a songwriter and publisher like his father. He wrote songs for Hollywood movies like Meet Me in St. Louis (the song was ‘Brighten the Corner Where You Are’).”  This is probably NOT the same as the song with the same title with words by Ina Duly Ogden and music by his father.

     According to George W. Sanville in Forty Gospel Hymn Stories (Winona Lake, IN: Rodeheaver-Hall Mack Co. Inc., 1943; p. 80), “The noted songwriter Charles H. Gabriel had traveled to New York to see his namesake son off to France for the First World War. His son had said, ‘Dad, if I never see you again here, I’ll meet you where the gates never swing outward,’" referring to a song which the father had copyrighted in 1921. I was able to locate a hymn entitled “He Loves Me” with words by Rene Bower and music by Charles H. Gabriel Jr., beginning, “Is your heart grieving o’er life and its care?” Also, there is a booklet entitled Five Great Songs for a Few Good Men by Barry Jennings, Suzanne Gaither Jennings, Don Francisco, Charles H. Gabriel, Jr., Johnson Oatman, and Gloria Gaither published in 1991 by the Gaither Music Company.

     “Jesus Will Never Fail” is listed as copyright 1931 by the Gospel Advocate Publishing Co. I do not know whether this was an original copyright, a renewal, or an assignment. Apparently, the song first appeared in a 1923 book entitled Song Sunbeams compiled by Gabriel (Sr.) for the Gospel Advocate Co. Among other hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1) edited by L. O. Sanderson. It is not to be confused with another popular hymn entitled, “Jesus Never Fails,” written by Arthur A. Luther in 1927, copyrighted by Singspiration, and beginning, “Earthly friends may prove untrue.”

     The song points out several situations in which we can trust Jesus to be a Friend.

I. Stanza 1 talks about the times when we need a friend
“I have a Friend divine, sincere, One who is always lingering near,
Dearest of all I ever knew, And He will be a Friend to you.”
 A. All of us need friends: Prov. 18:24
 B. Jesus is a friend who will always linger near as we do His will: Matt. 28:20
 C. He is the dearest of all friends because He gave His life for us: Jn. 15:13-15

II. Stanza 2 talks about the times when we are tempted and weak
“When I am tempted, He defends, Strength for my weakness always sends,
With me in everything I do, And He will be a Friend to you.”
 A. We are tempted when drawn away by our own desires: Jas. 1:13-15
 B. There are times that as we face such temptations, we are weak and need support: 1 Tim. 5:14
 C. If we trust Him, Jesus will be with us in such times and make a way of escape that we may be able to bear the temptation: 1 Cor. 10:13

III. Stanza 3 talks about the times when we are faint and wounded by trials
“When I am faint and weary worn, Wounded by many a hidden thorn,
Faithful is He, and kind and true, And He will be a Friend to you.”
 A. There are certainly times in this life when we become faint and weary: Heb. 12:3
 B. The hidden thorns which wound us might be thought of as representing the various trials and tribulations that we face in life which cause us to become faint and weary: Acts 14:22
 C. But Jesus is faithful and kind and true to give us God’s comfort in all our trials: 2 Cor. 1:3-5

IV. Stanza 4 talks about the time when we shall have to face death
“When at the river’s brink I stand, Waiting to hear the dread command,
He will be there to lead me through, And He will be a Friend to you.”
 A. The picture of standing at the river’s brink waiting to cross over is drawn from the scene where Israel went over the Jordan River into Canaan: Josh. 3:14-17
 B. Thus, the picture represents our waiting at the end of life to hear the dread command of that one appointment which all shall keep: Heb. 9:27
 C. But for the child of God, our Shepherd has promised to lead us through the valley of the shadow of death: Ps. 23:4-6

     CONCL.: The chorus continues to emphasize that Jesus has promised never to leave us and thus we can trust Him never to grieve us in spite of the sorrows and foes that we may have to face in life.
“He will never leave me, He will never grieve me;
Sorrow may come and foes assail, Jesus will never, never fail.”
Many of my human friends may turn away from me, and even those with the best of intentions may not always be able to help me. However, I can be assured that “Jesus Will Never Fail.”


One thought on ““Jesus Will Never Fail”

  1. Charles Hutchinson Gabriel, Jr.
    Born March 2, 1892, San Francisco, California.
    Gabriel was living with his parents in Cook County, Illinois, in 1910. He was still there in 1920 with his wife Ethel. In 1926, he was musical director and announcer for radio station KLX in Oakland, California. By 1930, he and his wife were in Los Angeles County, California.
    The January 30, 1926 issue of Colliers magazine said of him:
    Gabe has experienced all those changes which the Fates deem necessary to broaden one’s views. He has taught music in the Indianapolis [Indiana] and Northwestern Conservatories; edited mechanical and automobile magazines; traveled with Billy Sunday; been a newspaper reporter; rewrite man; music editor and book reviewer. In his spare time he has managed to produce eight hundred compositions which have been printed. He first became interested in radio when he was appointed director of WGN in Chicago [Illinois].


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