«The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you» (Deuteronomy 33:27).
Fanny Crosby was a very successful composer. We’ve already read about some of her hymns. This time, we’ll learn about the story of the hymn «Safe in the Arms of Jesus, » which was written in half an hour.
Many of her hymns were written backwards. Instead of writing the lyrics and then composing a melody to fit them, this time she heard the melody first and, based on that, wrote the lyrics.
One afternoon in 1868, William H. Doane, who composed hymns as a hobby, knocked on her door. He was in a hurry and told her, «Miss Fanny, I have exactly forty minutes before my train leaves for Cincinatti and I can’t miss it.» He explained there was a great statewide Sunday School convention and that, in addition to the attendance of several adult delegations, many youth and children were expected to attend. He wanted to take along a hymn he could teach them there.
He sat down at the piano and played the new melody. When he finished, Fanny told him, «Your music says, ‘Safe in the arms of Jesus.’ What better message for our young people than that?»
He only had half an hour left, so he impatiently hastened her to write the rest of the hymn. Fanny sat down at her desk and began writing. When she finished, she folded the piece of paper, placed it in an envelope and handed it to him.
“Here you are. You can read it on the train. Now hurry up so you won’t miss it.”
Once he was sitting on the train bound for Cincinnati, William opened the envelope and read the lyrics that perfectly fit his melody. To this day we sing the hymn that talks about the loving protective care we can find in Jesus.
When visiting several tourist sites, I’ve noticed how, in town squares or beach entrances, people gather to see itinerant artists who, with great ability, prepare their drawings and paintings in record time to surprise the audience or fulfill the requests they receive on the spot.
I don’t know if any of your talents could be used for God’s service like that. I’m sure they could. But if the thought of it makes you doubt, I invite you to spend some time right now thinking about and finding a creative way to briefly share your faith today.