The Birth of the Song – Precious Lord Jesus….

Romans 8:28 “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good,

even to them that are called according to his purpose.”

T H E  B I R T H  O F  T H E  S O N G
“P R E C I O U S L O R D JESUS.”

Back in 1932 I was 32 years old and 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 good-bye, 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 night, the baby died.

 

I buried Nettie and our little boy, both 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 a friend, Professor Fry, who
seemed to know what I needed. On the following Saturday evening he took
me up to Malone’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,
one into 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.

As 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.

Tommy Dorsey/ “The Birth of” Precious Lord

Neil and Rosemary Merckens

“Be still and know that I am God” ~Psalm 46

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