To God be the Glory
The great hymns of the church have touched the hearts of millions of Christians through the centuries. These classics not only have staying power because of their lyrics and what they speak to our hearts, but many have become personal touch points of worship for believers. We lift songs to heaven in corporate praise and find ourselves singing them as we drive, humming them at work or even praying their lyrics in the darkness of the night.
The great hymns of the church tell a story of God’s redemptive love for man and draw our hearts toward heaven in praise of God’s majesty, greatness and glory.
I Am Thine, O Lord
Fanny Crosby, one of America’s greatest hymnists, certainly drew from a fountainhead of Scripture. She became blind in infancy, but in her lifetime, she committed Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, the four Gospels, most of Psalms and all of Proverbs to memory! Her wealth of Scripture created the foundations for penning over 9,000 hymns in her life. One of my favorites is “I Am Thine, O Lord.”
I am Thine, O Lord,
I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise
In the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.
That’s been my heart’s desire since the day I surrendered my life to Christ and answered the call of God on my life. It says what I want the Father to know, and that’s why so many of us enjoy these hymns. For many Christians, a favorite hymn becomes a personal anthem and part of a special memory in their walk with the Lord.
Reminders of Comfort
Hymns unite the life-changing truth of Scripture with the universal language of music. Their words speak to our hearts, and their melodies speak to our spirits. God created music to communicate with our souls on a supernatural level. There is a desire in our hearts to express our love to God in music, and when we do, there is potential to change both the heart of the singer and the listener.
There are many fascinating stories of how some of the classic hymns came to be, and how they continue to influence the lives of believers years later. For example, Howard Rutledge was shot down over Vietnam, captured and imprisoned, and in the course of that tortuous experience, found himself drawing on the strength of spiritual truth in hymns he’d sung as a child. While in isolation in the darkness of a stormy night, as lightning flashed and waves of rain echoed on the prison’s roof, he began to hum “There Shall be Showers of Blessing.”
Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need:
Mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.
In an isolated cell, his body lay broken by torture, but his spirit was lifted by the truth of God’s Word from Ezekiel 34:26, “I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.” A reminder of God’s presence radiated into the most horrible of life’s circumstances, and comforted his soul.
Reaching a World in Need
The lyrics and stories behind hymns remind us of the great truths of Scripture and our calling as Christians to share the Gospel in word and deed. That’s what LIFE Outreach is doing every day in more than 40 nations. We are making a difference as we feed the hungry, drill water wells to provide clean, safe water, work to save young lives from the bondage of human slavery, care for orphans, reach out to the oppressed and share a message of hope and new life in Christ.
Our mission is summed up in the theme of Helen Lemmel’s hymn from 1918, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” As we continue to reach a world so desperately in need of God’s love, we thank Him for our friends and partners who share this mission. Whatever we have done, and by His grace continue to do, we must say, “To God be the Glory.” The words of that great hymn still ring true in my heart today.
To God be the glory, great things He hath done!
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life, atonement for sin,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.