I took this photo last July at Fort Mountain State Park, here in North Georgia, on a hiking path. Four of our granddaughters had come to spend a week with Nana and Papa, and hiking with them through the mountains was grand, though they moved more swiftly with the grace of youth, and I took time to enjoy the views at my own gray-haired pace. They probably hiked it at least twice, if you count the times they kept coming back down to see if Papa and Nana were still coming. It was great being with my grand girls, and I loved every minute of it, stretched muscles and all. As I looked at this photo this morning and this obscure mountain path, I thought of an old hymn that has been on my mind all week. My mother used to sing it to us as a child, and I remember others from my youth singing it, back in those days when hymns and the theology they gave us was so precious. We desperately need to hear such songs today. The hymn was written in 1903 by George A. Young and was entitled “ God Leads Us Along.” Here are the powerful lyrics:

In shady green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,
God leads His dear children along.
Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.
The second verse speaks especially to us today…
Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright,
God leads His dear children along;
Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night,
God leads His dear children along.

George A.Young was a poor, obscure preacher, pastoring a tiny church in a rural area. He worked as a carpenter to support his family, and eventually he would build a small house by himself for them to live in. While he was gone into another town to preach, some local thugs, who didn’t like his preaching burned his home to the ground. Impoverished, they continued on in God’s work, and in this time of trial in 1903, he wrote this song based on
Isaiah 43:2 “When thou shall pass through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee, when thou shall walk through the fire, thou shall not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Many years later, a publisher seeking the origins of this hymn would find George A.Young’s widow, a tiny elderly lady, living in a county poor house. She beamed with joy as she told him how God had placed her there in poverty, and she was able to tell so many downtrodden and hopeless people about Jesus. She said to him, “ Isn’t it wonderful how God leads us on the right paths to do His Will in us?”

Unfortunately, we often measure our lives in the abundance of things, money and materialism, all on its way to rapid decay, but if in this wicked and desperate hour, if we would view our lives through God’s lens and let Him lead us and be reconciled to his will, where we can say like the Apostle Paul “…for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.” Phil. 4:11

God Leads His Dear Children Along

Dr. David M. Griffis