Christian Singer Lily Isaacs On Facing Hardship: ‘God’s Divine Plan Marched On’

Photo from The Isaacs’ Official Instagram

Christian Singer Lily Isaacs On Facing Hardship: ‘God’s Divine Plan Marched On’

By Movieguide® Staff

Christian singer Lily Isaacs recently talked about her family and childhood and how an encounter with Jesus transformed her life and music career with her gospel band, The Isaacs.

Lily outlines her story in her autobiography, You Don’t Cry Out Loud, which she published in 2014.  

From an early age, Lily experienced physical and financial challenges.  

Writer Robert Knight reported for Timothy Plan: “She grew up in dire poverty as a poor Jewish girl in New York and suffered from extreme scoliosis. Later, she fought through breast cancer and many back surgeries.”

Isaac said that she sees her life as a miracle because her parents barely survived the Holocaust. 

“Her father, Uszer (Oscar) Fiszman, was beaten to the ground and nearly shot, and her mother, Feigle Jakobitz, was pulled by a friend from a line of women headed for a gas chamber and placed in another line leading to slave labor,” Knight wrote. 

The title of Lily’s autobiography came from something her mother had said when she reflected on the Holocaust: “What can you do? Tell me, what can you do? In a situation like that the only thing you think is, I hope I survive. I want to see where my family is. That’s what I was thinking. Nothing else. Sure, you cry inside, but you don’t cry out loud.” 

Despite growing up in Jewish culture, Lily revealed that her childhood did not include anything spiritual. However, Isaac fell in love with music while growing up in New York. 

“She began performing with her friend Maria Neumann, and they recorded an album for Columbia Records. One night they did a gig at a club called Gerde’s, a folk mecca where Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie and other budding stars had played,” Knight explained. “It was here she met her future husband, Joe Isaacs, who was playing banjo for a group called the Greenbriar Boys. She was 100 percent New Yorker, accent and all, and he was the son of a preacher, a hillbilly from Kentucky who grew up without electricity or running water in the house.”

Despite their opposite backgrounds, the couple were married and started a band that they initially named the Calvary Mountain Boys. Eventually, they landed on the name, The Isaacs.

However, it was not until Dec. 1970 that Lily would think about the spiritual state of her soul. 

Knight added: “Just before Christmas in 1970, Joe’s brother Delmer, 27, was killed in a car accident. The memorial service was held in a small Pentecostal church, and it deeply moved Lily, who had never been in a church before.”

“Delmer’s funeral gave me my first glimpse of Christian love and togetherness,” Lily wrote. “It had a huge impact on my life.”  

“At that moment, in that little church, all the longings and confusion and emptiness surfaced and were swept aside,” she added. “I cried my way to salvation.”

However, Lily’s parents were not happy about her conversion. 

“Her parents were aghast and her mother accused her of abandoning her people. Lily’s tearful pleas were shot down. But Lily stuck with Jesus, who gave her peace in her heart,” Timothy Plan notes. “She got to pray with her Dad on her last visit to him before he died in 1978.”

Although Lily and Joe divorced after 28 years of marriage, she continued to perform with her daughters Sonya and Becky and son Ben for The Isaacs.

The family earned two Grammy Award nominations and performed across the world. In 2004, Lily had the opportunity to share her testimony and sing “hallelujah” in Jerusalem. 

“There was always hope. Tyrants tried to destroy as many lives as possible. They tried to snuff out our existence, my existence, yet God’s divine plan marched on. … There is always hope,” Lily said of her life. 


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