Monday, July 19, 2010

Take My Hand, Precious Lord

"Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn; Thru the storm, thru the night,
Lead me on to the light; Take my hand, precious Lord, Lead me home"
(from the hymn by Thomas Dorsey)

Thomas Dorsey was born just outside of Atlanta, Georgia in 1899. He grew up singing the blues and jazz and by the 1920's became nationally recognized as a leader in this new style of music.
Thomas related the following story - "In 1932, I was 32 years old and living with my wife Nettie in Chicago's south side. One August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis for a revival. Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child. I didn't want to go, something was strongly telling me to stay, but people were expecting me and I went. The next night, the crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped it open and saw the words "Your wife is dead". I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could hear was "Nettie is dead". When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. Yet that night, the baby had also died. I buried them both, then fell apart. For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn't want to serve him anymore. I was lost in grief.
A friend took me to a neighborhood music school one day and left me alone in a room with a piano. It was quiet and the late afternoon sun shined through the window. I sat at the piano and began to browse over the keys. Something happened to me. I felt at peace. I found myself playing a melody, one I've never heard or played before and words came into my head. As the word and music came to me, it seemed that my heart was also healed. I learned from that tragic experience that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest."
(taken from "Sing With Feeling by Robert Jay Taylor,Jr.)

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