‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Lyrics by Louisa M.R. Stead (1850-1917)
Music by William J. Kirkpatrick

 “In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them.”Psalm 22:4-5

Louisa Stead was born in England and moved to the United States in her early twenties. She married Mr. Stead and they had one daughter together, named Lily. One day, when Lily was four years old, the family headed to a park for a picnic. While they were enjoying a picnic together, they heard cries from a young boy drowning in the sea. Mr. Stead attempted to save the boy, but both he and the boy died as Louisa and Lily watched.

It was out of this tragedy that Louisa Stead penned the words to her now well-known hymn, “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”

 Louisa had always wanted to be a missionary and eventually, she and Lily moved to South Africa as missionaries. Louisa’s health went bad and she died at the age of 67. She left an amazing legacy with the people in South Africa, as the words of a fellow missionary explain, in reference to Louisa and “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”:

We miss her very much, but her influence goes on as our five thousand native Christians
continually sing this hymn in their native tongue.[1]

Louisa also left a legacy with her daughter, Lily, who continued on the missionary work in South Africa.

Refrain

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!

Reflective Thoughts: With bold exclamation, the hymn writer bursts open this song with a declaration of trust in Jesus. “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust HIM!” How did she come to trust Him? He proved Himself trustworthy in her life over and over again. This is seen as we walk by faith in each circumstance that God brings in our lives. Then, with a bold, yet at the same time humble, exclamation, the hymn writer closes out the refrain with the reality that she needs grace to continue to trust Jesus. Trusting Christ is not something we do one time and then we are done. We need to trust Him more and more (in every area of our lives); and for that, we need His grace.

Stanza 1

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

Reflective Thoughts: When someone is found trustworthy in our lives, we believe what they say. As we trust Jesus, we know His Word to be true, and then we experience the rest in the reality of the promises He makes to us. So as we read “Thus says the Lord!” our hearts perk up! We want to know what He says, because we trust what He says, and we find rest for our souls.

Stanza 2

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!

Reflective Thoughts: “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!” (Psalm 32:1). One of the sweetest blessings of trusting Christ is the blessed gift of the forgiveness of sins. A life was given for you and me so that we can be cleansed and healed from our sin. Have you experienced this blessed, sweet cleansing? This is not just a one-time experience when we first come to the Lord, but an everyday experience as we bring our sins before Him.

Stanza 3

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.

Reflective Thoughts: “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Apart from Christ, all we can do is look to sin and self for life. But, God calls us to cease striving after these things and find life, rest, joy, and peace in Christ alone!

Stanza 4

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.

Reflective Thoughts: Trust is not something that comes automatically. In this stanza, the hymn writer declares that it is something that is learned; and, what better place to learn how to trust Jesus than through the trials of this life? As we go through difficulties and see how God keeps us, we learn to trust Him. As we learn to trust Him, He becomes precious to us, and we can say, “I am so GLAD I learned to trust You.” That is how we rejoice in the trials. Have you learned to trust Jesus? If you have not, start today by trusting Him right where you are. As Romans 10:11 tells us, “…Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”



[1] Kenneth W. Osbeck, 101 More Hymn Stories, Part 2, p.289