By Matt Capps
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). This verse is easy to utter, but when life becomes excruciatingly painful, it is difficult to believe. Even so, saints throughout history would attest to the truth that when life is bitter, Christ is sweeter still.
Most likely, you don’t recognize the name Louisa Stead. However, if you’ve spent considerable time in a local church, it is possible that you’ve joined the chorus in singing her hymn, “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” Written over a century ago, it is a simple, yet powerful, hymn of faith. Understanding Stead’s story sweetens the words of this precious hymn even more.
In 1875, Louisa married and gave birth to one daughter, Lilly. When their child was only four years old, the family was vacationing on the shores of Long Island when their lives were abruptly changed forever. There on the beach, Louisa and Lilly watched their beloved husband and father drown while attempting to rescue a boy from the waters of the sea. With no way to financially support themselves after Mr. Stead’s death, Louisa and Lilly were left in poverty.
The depth of sorrow experienced in the unexpected death of a spouse has to be unimaginable. The depth of despair in facing the uncertainties of poverty must be crushing. But in the bleakest moments of life, it seems that God’s grace shines most brightly.
It was out of this personal tragedy that the words of this classic hymn were penned. As the newly widowed Mrs. Stead walked through the darkness of loss, it was by God’s grace that she persevered in her faith and plunged beneath His healing, cleansing flood of mercy.
One can imagine the questions that must have come to mind after the initial grief of this loss began to settle, perhaps the most difficult of those being, “Why?” While she may not have received the answer this side of heaven, Louisa did receive comfort in her pain. God’s sustaining power rescued her from drowning in her sorrows, and in His comfort she learned to trust in Him more and more.
What a precious Jesus we worship and serve, a Savior who assures us that He is with us every moment, and will be with us until the end. Oh, how Jesus has proved Himself over and over.
Written by Matt Capps
‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
Text: Louisa M. R. Stead, 1882
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take Him at His word;
just to rest upon His promise,
and to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!
O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
just to trust His cleansing blood;
and in simple faith to plunge me
neath the healing, cleansing flood! Refrain
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
just from sin and self to cease;
just from Jesus simply taking
life and rest, and joy and peace. Refrain
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
and I know that Thou art with me,
wilt be with me to the end. Refrain