Saved By A Song


“We are Thine, do Thou befriend us, be the Guardian of our way; keep Thy flock, from sin defend us, seek us when we go astray;” (from the hymn, “Saviour, Like a Shepherd Lead Us…words by Dorothy A. Thrupp, 1836)

Dorothy A. Thrupp was a Londoner who wrote only a few songs, mostly for children. She was a private, quiet soul, and not much is known about her except that she wrote this hymn at the age of 57, to comfort small children. She died only ten years later.

Now, let’s move on to another story concerning this hymn. It was on a Christmas Eve that Ira Sankey traveled by steamboat up the Delaware River. Oddly enough, he was asked to sing and sang this song. At the conclusion of the song, a stranger walked up to him and asked, “Did you ever serve in the Union Army?” “Yes, “ Mr. Sankey answered. “I served in 1860. “Do you remember if you were on picket duty on a bright, moonlit night in 1862?” the stranger asked. “Yes,” answered a surprised Sankey.

The stranger proceeded to tell an amazing story. He was in the Confederate Army and saw Sankey, a Union soldier, on that very night at his post. He raised his musket to kill him and was shocked to hear his enemy singing this song. He took his finger from the trigger, vowing to kill Sankey when he stopped singing. But the words of this glorious hymn touched the stranger’s heart, reminded him of his God-fearing mother, and he told Sankey, “my arm of its own accord dropped limp at my side.”

Listen to these words from the hymn: “we need Thy tender care”; “do Thou befriend us”; “be the Guardian of our way”; “Thou hast mercy to relieve us….and pow’r to free.” Is it coincidence that this song saved a man’s life? Random luck that the two enemies meet years’ later and share their amazing story? I don’t think so.

Most of us have dodged bullets in our lifetime. We were lost, but now we are found.

Thank you, precious Shepherd, for always bringing us back to You.


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