you will want to read this story. AFTER READING THIS I THINK YOU WILL BE
SURPRISED AT WHAT YOU LEARNED. I SURE DID NOT KNOW THIS.
GUESS YOU DO LEARN SOMETHING NEW EACH DAY.
THE BIRTH OF THE HYMN "PRECIOUS LORD"
Back in 1932, I was a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were living in a
little apartment on Chicago 's south side. One hot August afternoon I had to go
to St. Louis where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I
didn't want to go; Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child,
but a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis. I kissed Nettie goodbye,
clattered downstairs to our Model A and, in a fresh Lake Michigan breeze,
chugged out of Chicago on Route 66.
However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at leaving, I had
forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back. I found Nettie
sleeping peacefully. I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me
to stay. But eager to get on my way, and not wanting to disturb Nettie, I
shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music.
The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing
again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a
Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow
sheet were the words:
YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.
People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could hardly keep
from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could hear on the
other end was "Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead.'"
When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between
grief and joy. Yet that same night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little
boy together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart. For days I closeted myself.
I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn't want to serve Him anymore
or write gospel songs. I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew
so well. But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first sad
days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis.
Something kept telling me to stay with Nettie. Was that something God? Oh,
if I had paid more attention to Him that day, I would have stayed and been
with Nettie when she died. From that moment on I vowed to listen more
closely to Him. But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially
one friend. The following Saturday evening he took me up to Maloney's Poro
College, a neighborhood music school. It was quiet; the late evening sun
crept through the curtained windows.
I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys.
Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as though I could
reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody. Once in my
head they just seemed to fall into place: 'Precious Lord, take my hand,
lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the
storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious
Lord, lead me home.'
The Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my spirit.
I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from
God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open to His restoring
power. And so, I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that day
comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.