“𝐖𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐰𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐛𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡.”
𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐁𝐞𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐇𝐲𝐦𝐧
Luther Burgess Bridgers was a young pastor who had graduated from Asbury College, Kentucky. He served briefly on the foreign mission field. But wherever the Lord led him, since the age of seventeen, he had been a zealous preacher of the gospel, calling others to put their faith in Christ. As the years flowed by, God gave him and his wife three little boys, and the Bridgers prayed they would grow up to honor and serve the Lord.
In 1910, when he was twenty-six, Luther drove his wife and three sons to her parents’ home in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, where they were to stay while he went on a preaching trip. Then two weeks went by. After the last meeting on his schedule, he went to his lodgings to sleep but was awakened by a phone call at one in the morning. “Is this Mr. Bridgers?” He responded that it was. “Well, we are sorry to tell you that your house caught fire tonight, and your wife and children have burned to death.”
𝐇𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐢𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞, holding the receiver. Pastor Bridgers dropped to his knees by the telephone and prayed, “𝐋𝐨𝐫𝐝, 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐥 𝐭𝐨 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐢𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐢𝐧 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐰. 𝐆𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐥 𝐦𝐚𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐭 𝐦𝐞.”
Only Luther’s in-laws survived, while his wife and sons perished. Understandably, Luther was overcome with grief and depression. But that distraught father leaned heavily on His Savior and expressed his faith in God and during a tearful moment he penned the words of the hymn He Keeps Me Singing.
Perhaps we should not be surprised to find yet another cheerful hymn written by someone who has endured deep sorrow. When you sing the words of this “upbeat” song you’d probably never sense the pain and sorrow of the author. But knowing the story behind it, you can see his sorrow in the phrases.
There’s within my heart a melody
Jesus whispers sweet and low:
“Fear not, I am with thee; peace, be still,”
In all of life’s ebb and flow.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Sweetest name I know,
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go.
All my life was wrecked by sin and strife;
Discord filled my heart with pain;
Jesus swept across the broken strings,
Stirred the slumbering chords again.
Feasting on the riches of His grace,
Resting ‘neath His sheltering wing,
Always looking on His smiling face –
That is why I shout and sing.
Though sometimes He leads through waters deep,
Trials fall across my way,
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep,
See His footprints all the way.
Soon He’s coming back to welcome me,
Far beyond the starry sky;
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown;
I shall reign with Him on high.
No matter what your situation may be, there is hope in the final verse – “𝐒𝐨𝐨𝐧 𝐇𝐞’𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐨 𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐦𝐞 …𝐈 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐫𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐧 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐇𝐢𝐦 𝐨𝐧 𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡.” And that truth should enable us to live each day with a song of expectation in our hearts…𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐠𝐨!