Today’s Scripture: When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Isaiah 43:2

In 1932, Thomas Dorsey was on stage in St. Louis leading singing when someone rushed to the stage with an urgent telegram. When he opened it, the ominous words read, “Your wife is dead.” Thomas quickly exited the stage and went for a phone. But all he got when he dialed was a voice that said, “Nettie is Dead. Nettie is Dead.”

Dorsey got a ride home with a friend, and they drove through the night. The news got worse when Dorsey arrived. His baby boy had also died. Distraught and heartbroken, Thomas felt as if his life couldn’t go on. “I felt like God had done me an injustice. I didn’t want to write any more gospel songs. I didn’t want to serve God anymore.”

But the next day, while sitting alone in a friend’s room, Thomas felt a sudden peace. The warmth of God’s love washed over him and compelled him to write. He grabbed a pad and penned the words to the famous hymn that has encouraged Christians for nearly a hundred years:

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.
Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me home.

Perhaps you’re enduring tragedy like Thomas Dorsey. Maybe the loss of a child, the betrayal of a loved one, or the threat of a job loss has you doubting God’s goodness. Take hold of his precious hymn, and know that this same God can take your hand and lead you through the night.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder