Friday, October 25, 2013

Trust and Obey (Strength in Hymn)

Trust and Obey
by John H. Sammis

When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

But we never can prove
the delights of his love
until all on the altar we lay;
for the favor he shows,
for the joy he bestows,
are for them who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet
we will sit at his feet,
or we'll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do,
where he sends we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way

to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. 

The Back Story of the Hymn: You can read how lyricist John Sammis received inspiration for this hymn by clicking this link: Trust and Obey, The Song and the Story.

Why I Picked this Hymn: When I was in Florida Hospital a few weeks ago, they asked if I would like a visit from the chaplain.  Sure!  So Pastor Sherwin Callwood stopped by not long before I went home and chatted with my husband and me for a little while about trusting God for my health and also, on a practical note, walking to relieve stress.  I asked him what his favorite hymn is, and he quickly replied "Trust and Obey."  He also mentioned that he sang professionally in his younger years -- including over 13 years with the famous Boys' Choir of Harlem.  Thank you, Rev. Callwood, for your visit and your hymn choice!

My Life: About a week after my hospital visit, my daughter who is an RN at Florida Hospital asked if I would like to walk with her at a nearby lake, Crane's Roost, to get some exercise.  We managed three miles that night, and two the next.  I sure enjoyed the time with her and I'm glad she's encouraging me to embrace healthy habits!  In fact, that Sunday night, I asked my husband if he'd would like to walk at Lake Baldwin with me and our two youngest children while three of the others went to youth group nearby.  We strolled for about a mile and half before driving over to Subway for a snack and playtime at a colored light fountain.  All of the photos in this post are from that walk.  

While we walked, I thought about how part of teaching our children to trust and obey God the Father is teaching them how to trust us and follow our instructions peacefully as we ourselves do the right thing.  We don't want to misrepresent the character of God by being harsh, selfish, impatient, arbitrary, or demanding.  We don't want to set unreasonable expectations that will unnecessarily frustrate them.  We want them to know they are safe with us, both physically and emotionally.  We want them to see us authentically following God's leading.  In that sense, trust is earned and basic obedience is modeled by example.  We certainly don't always live up to that, but I am personally committed to trying my hardest.  I think we should:

  • Consider their personalities, needs and desires.  "Yes, of course you can ride a scooter instead of walking.  It will be faster and more fun for you!" and "You are thirsty? Let me get out your water bottle for you."  

  • Take the time often to just stop and be with them, to pay attention to their interests, and just enjoy their presence.  "Sure, we can stop and see the ducks! Great idea!" and "Wow, I'm glad you showed me that anhinga stretching his wings up on the roof" and "Let's get some cookies at Subway and then go over to see the colored fountains!" 

  •  Explain, as appropriate, why we have made a decision, why it is important for them to cooperate.  "Don't chase the ducks, please.  We need to be kind to God's creatures, and other people here want to see them waddle around, too!" and "Stay on the right and watch where you're going, because bicycles are coming."  

  • Point out vital and beautiful things as we go along. "Walking around the lake is a great way to get exercise and fresh air!" and "What a beautiful sunset God has created!" 

Thoughts for the Disillusioned Christian: Many Christians have a difficult time trusting God if they have been burned by leaders who have demanded unwavering trust and blind obedience in the name of "godliness."  It helps to remember that God has called us to discernment and common sense!  There are a lot of untrustworthy "Christian" leaders out there -- both celebrities and small-time guys, and both outright greedy charlatans and the sincere-but-misguided.  We should not trust everyone who claims to be a Christian authority, and there is certainly no call for unconditional obedience to anyone.  We obey God, and as an overflow of that we cooperate with others who serve him alongside us. We seek to build trusting relationships with our fellow Christians, but we keep in mind that they are just human beings, prone to failure and even betrayal.  Can I get an AMEN?  

You might also like this free e-book by "A Little Yes" blogger Heather Caliri: Dancing Back to Jesus: post-perfectionist faith in five easy verbs.  You will find unintimidating encouragement for the burned out Christian. After I posted that link on Facebook last night, a Romanian friend told me it reminded her of this song on YouTube: Do it Afraid.  Let me know what you think!  

We all need a little joy and courage in our lives to help us trust and obey!


  1. Love that I popped in hear to be greeted by the words to trust and obey! Trust is my word for 2013 and I'm currently working on an embroidery of the words trust and obey.

  2. One of my favorite hymns, Virginia. Your post is full of much wisdom, as well. Have a beautiful weekend. The weather here in Florida will be perfect for more of those nice walks.

  3. Thank you so much Virginia for sharing this hymn. I love hymns!!