Like a River Glorious

Last week I wrote about a hymnal for family worship that I had received in the mail called Hymns of Grace. I love it and have used it every day since.

At the end of our church service yesterday we sang the hymn “Like a River Glorious.” I looked in my new book and found this hymn along with five others from the same writer (including “Take My Life and Let it Be”).

Her name is Frances Ridley Havergal. frances_ridley_havergalShe was born into a Christian home outside of Worcestershire, England in 1836. Her father was a pastor and her mother died when she was just eleven years old. At age fourteen Frances came to faith in Christ.

It is said that she was the smartest of her five siblings—having learned to read by age three, and later picking up French, German, Greek, Hebrew, and La­tin. Even more impressive, at age twenty-two she had memorized the Gospels, the Epistles, Psalms, Isaiah, and Revelation.

There’s much more to her story. Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolegmuth tells it well. It’s worth a listen. Additionally, here’s an article on her life from Banner of Truth.

So this song is sung just before the benediction yesterday and my heart is thinking on the “perfect peace and rest” that can only come from my perfect Savior. I love these hymns, as there is usually a story behind them; and this one is no different. Havergal wrote this hymn soon after she had a severe cold of hers diagnosed as life-threatening. It is said that she responded with these words,  “If I am really going, it is too good to be true.”

Soon after she put the pen to paper, and began writing this beautiful hymn. Her words point to the source of this “perfect peace” (Isaiah 26:3) and the picture of it “like a river” (Isaiah 66:12).

Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Hymns of Grace will be available for purchase next week (March 21).