I got this on my email –
AFTER READING THIS, I THINK YOU WILL BE SURPRISED AT WHAT YOU LEARNED. I SURE DID
NOT KNOW THIS. GUESS YOU DO LEARN SOMETHING NEW EACH DAY.
THE BIRTH OF THE HYMN “PRECIOUS LORD”
Back in 1932, I was 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 goodbye,
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
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 same night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little
boy 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 house 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 one
friend. The following Saturday evening he took me up to Maloney’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. Once in 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.’
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
For those too young to know who he is, Tommy Dorsey was a well-known band
leader in the 1930’s and 40’s.
Did you know that Tommy Dorsey wrote this song? I surely didn’t.
What a wonderful story of how God CAN heal the brokenhearted!
Beautiful, isn’t it?