Highlights

I know I am safe

Nov 2016    

God's Saving Hand

On 28 Aug 2016, the Ministry of Health and the National Environment Agency confirmed several cases of locally-transmitted Zika virus infection, and thus officially announced the Zika outbreak in Singapore. Many were fearful, especially pregnant mothers, of being infected by the mild disease transmitted by the Aedes mosquito.

As I was writing this article, I remembered pondering this question: “How safe am I from contracting this disease? How safe is my daughter, who is pregnant, from the Zika virus infection that may sometimes cause microcephaly in a small number of unborn fetuses?”

As I was praying with a heavy heart ruminating the “what-ifs”, the Holy Spirit ministered this wonderful hymn to my troubled soul and I starting singing it. “Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast; there by His love o’er-shaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.”

‘Safe in the Arms of Jesus’ was penned by Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915) who became permanently blinded when she was only six weeks old due to the ignorance of a country doctor who applied hot poultices to her inflamed eyes.1 Despite her disability, God worked miracles through her popular hymns and gospel songs to bring comfort and encouragement to the many who sang them.

On 30 April 1868, William H. Doane (a prominent businessman and Christian layman) stopped by Fanny’s house on his way to Cincinnati with the most incredible request. “Miss Fanny, I have exactly 40 minutes before my train leaves for Cincinnati, and I must take that train. I want a new hymn which I can introduce for the first time at the state-wide Sunday School convention next month. And I want to take this hymn with me when I go.”

After William had played his new tune in a rousing and stirring manner on the piano, Fanny was left with only about 30 minutes to write the lyrics of the new hymn. “ Underneath are the everlasting arms’ is the Bible verse (Deut. 33:27) that has been ringing in my mind and heart all day,” she told her guest.2

When the 40 minutes were up, Fanny was through writing. She folded a sheet of paper, placed it in an envelope and handed it to her friend who thanked her, grabbed his hat and rushed to the carriage that was awaiting him in front of the house.

What Fanny had written in less than 40 minutes brought immense comfort to me as I sang: “Firm on the Rock of Ages, ever my trust shall be.” (Stanza 3) No matter what happens today, tomorrow or in the future, I know I am safe in the arms of Jesus who is “my heart’s dear refuge”.

Safe in the Arms of Jesus (Hymns of United Worship, #163)

 

Safe in the arms of Jesus,

Safe on His gentle breast;

There by His love o’er-shaded,

Sweetly my soul shall rest.

Hark! ‘Tis the voice of angels

Borne in a song to me

Over the fields of glory,

Over the jasper sea. 

 

Refrain:

Safe in the arms of Jesus,

Safe on His gentle breast.

There by His love o’er-shaded,

Sweetly my soul shall rest. 

 

Safe in the arms of Jesus,

Safe from corroding care,

Safe from the world’s temptations,

Sin cannot harm me there.

Free from the blight of sorrow,

Free from my doubts and fears;

Only a few more trials,

Only a few more tears! (Refrain)

 

Jesus, my heart’s dear refuge,

Jesus has died for me;

Firm on the Rock of Ages,

Ever my trust shall be.

Here, let me wait with patience,

Wait till the night is o’er,

Wait till I see the morning

Break on the golden shore. (Refrain) 

Words: Fanny J. Crosby, 1868

Music: William H. Doane, 1868

1 Ernest K. Emurian, Living Stories of Famous Hymns (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1955), 111.

2 Ibid., 112.

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