In the tumultuous times in which we live, I find great comfort in the old paths, the old hymns, old Truth. As the old hymn asks, “Does your anchor hold?” We certainly need an anchor now, more than ever.
I find myself frequently lost in the old spiritual songs and hymns that I grew up with. It isn’t sentimentality for the past that drives me back to them. It is the Savior who is sung about with such tenderness in this music that draws me. When listening, “…the things of earth go strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
Most younger generations will never know these simple melodies. The simplicity of the tunes, the sheer singability of them, combined with equally simple–but rich in truth lyrics–drive them deep into your mind and soul.
Our little daughter listens to these songs and hymns on her CD player at night. Recently, she came into the kitchen and asked if I knew the song, “Bring back the Springtime.” I told her I could sing it all. “That’s my favorite song,” she said. “I love George Beverly Shea.” I doubt many eight-year-olds have that dear saint now in heaven on their list of favorite singers, but the kindliness and love in his voice transcends time. Best of all, these recordings are introducing her to the beautiful songs and hymns that she will hopefully draw from all her life, both in grief and joy.
Here are a couple of the songs I listened to today that blessed my heart. The first is the song, “Then Jesus Came…” Like the blind beggar touched by the Savior, our darkness of our souls is filled with light when “Jesus comes to stay.” That song is followed by “Beautiful Savior” by the choir. The Savior, who deserves all of our praise and worship, is lifted up in this music.
Fair are the meadows,
Fair are the woodlands,
Robed in flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer;
He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.
Lord of the nations,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor,
Now and forevermore be Thine!
The second video is a precious song to me for several reasons. George Beverly Shea is 103 in this recording with Guy Penrod. I first heard this song at age 22 at a time when the burdens in life seemed unbearable. I found an old tape of Paul and Bob, a blind singer who sang duets with another man on a radio program. The tape would have been laughed at by many young adults even then, but this simple song reminded me that Jesus DID care about all that was going on in my life. Someone may see this today and also need that reminder. If so, this is for you!
7 thoughts on “Old Comfort in Perilous Times”
Thank you, Ingrid. A great reminder.
He still sounded great at 103! Yes, the old hymns bring such comfort, hope and peace.
I love the old hymns.
The old hymns not only bring comfort but they also teach profound theology! Love them. Love this post! And I grew up on George Beverly Shea. Used to watch him on the Billy Graham Crusade television specials. Thanks for bringing back that sweet memory! 🙂
I agree. Good post. “the sheer singability of them” – Yes, songs that are supposed to be sung by the congregation should be…singable. Seems such an obvious point. Yet, not so obvious anymore!! Some songs are more for listening to, and others for singing – and I am puzzled by churches that choose songs for the congregation to sing that are NOT singable – so everyone just stands listening! But I don’t want to digress too far from the main point of your post!
Further, it’s so hard to find traditional Christmas carols – sung in classical, traditional style — on the radio – even on Christian stations. They sing in that breathy, effeminate, sliding-tone style, which I absolutely detest. If you want classical, traditional style, you have to buy a Robert Shaw Chorale Christmas CD. I have several, and they’re just about all I listen to.
And I’m so glad that I go to a church that sings hymns out of the hymnbook. We also sing Christmas carols out of the hymnbook, and we plan to go caroling in neighborhoods in the next few days. Come join us!
i have honestly had to just mentally disconnect from so much craziness and try to focus on what is more important. It’s hard. I am so tired of what is going on in so many spheres. Thank you for this.
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