THE BIRTH OF THE HYMN “Precious Lord”

By , September 5, 2010 2:28 pm

THE BIRTH OF THE HYMN
“PRECIOUS LORD”

 
Back in 1932, I was a
fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were
living in a little apartment on Chicago ‘s south
side. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St.
Louis where I was to be the featured soloist at a
large revival meeting. I didn’t want to go; Nettie
was in the last month of pregnancy with our first
child, but a lot of people were expecting me in
St. Louis . I kissed Nettie goodbye, clattered
downstairs to our Model A and, in a fresh
Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago
on Route 66.

However, outside the city, I discovered
that in my anxiety at leaving, I had forgotten my
music case. I wheeled around and headed back.

I found Nettie sleeping peacefully. I hesitated
by her bed; something was strongly telling me
to stay But eager to get on my way, and not wanting
to disturb Nettie, I shrugged off the feeling and
quietly slipped out of the room with my music.

The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the
crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I
finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a
Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope….
Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words:
YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.

People were happily singing and clapping
around me, but I could hardly keep from crying out.
I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could
hear on the other end was “Nettie is dead. Nettie is
dead.'”

When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given
birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy. Yet
that same night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and
our little boy together, in the same casket. Then I
fell apart.
For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done
me an injustice. I didn’t want to serve Him anymore or
write gospel songs I just wanted to go back to that
jazz world I once knew so well. But then, as I
hunched alone in that dark apartment those first sad
days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to
St. Louis . Something kept telling me to stay with Nettie.
Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention
to Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when
she died.

From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him.
But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially
one friend. The following Saturday evening he took me up to
Maloney’s Poro College , a neighborhood music school. It was
quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows.

I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over
the keys. Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I
felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found
myself playing a melody. Once in my head they just seemed
to fall into place: ‘Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on,
let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand,
precious Lord, lead me home.’

The Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my
spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when
we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when
we are most open to His restoring power.

And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that
day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.

– – – -Tommy Dorsey
For those too young to know who he is, Tommy Dorsey was
a well-known band leader in the 1930’s and 40’s.

Did you know that Tommy Dorsey
wrote this song? I surely didn’t. What a wonderful
story of how God CAN heal the brokenhearted!
Beautiful, isn’t it?

 
Worth the reading.Think on the message for a while.
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