Great Hymns of the Faith: All the Way My Savior Leads Me

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Great Hymns of the Faith: All the Way My Savior Leads Me

By John Michael Luther, Contributing Writer

“All The Way My Savior Leads Me” by Frances Jane Crosby (1820-1915)

Frances Jane Crosby was born March 24, 1820. Fanny Crosby was a poet, lyricist and composer and worked tirelessly in rescue Mission work and with the poor. Despite becoming blind shortly after birth, she went on to write more than 8,000 hymns and gospel songs. “All the Way My Savior Leads Me” was written in 1875 to a tune written by the Baptist minister Dr. Robert Lowry.

At the age of 8, Fanny wrote her first poem, which described her blindness. She later was quoted as saying, “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank Him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow, I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me, and when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”

Crosby’s literary work was quite expansive. It was published in numerous publications, including The Saturday Evening Post and praised highly by John Quincy Adams among others. She also wrote the librettos for three cantatas and a popular operetta, The Flower Queen; The Coronation of the Rose, and she wrote patriotic songs during the Civil War. She married Alexander van Alstyne Jr. in 1858. They had one daughter, who died soon after her birth. Crosby’s hymn, “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” was inspired by her death.

This is how Fanny described her working method: “It may seem a little old-fashioned, always to begin one’s work with prayer, but I never undertake a hymn without first asking the good Lord to be my inspiration.” She often composed six or seven hymns a day and sometimes 12 of them at a time. Her hymns were never written for financial gain. The royalties were donated to worthy causes. She literally gave her life away and often ended up penniless. She passed away February 12, 1915.

Fanny Crosby had many reasons to complain, but she chose the opposite. She thanked God for her losses, for she believed that God had given her an inner soul vision. She once said, “How in the world could I have lived such a helpful life if I had not been blind?”

She often struggled financially. One day in 1874, with no money to pay her rent, Fanny began to pray. A few minutes later, a person came to her and offered her $5, which was the precise amount that she needed. About the incident, she said, “I have no way of accounting for this except to believe that God put it into the heart of this good man to bring the money.” The result was the poem she wrote afterward, “All The Way My Savior Leads Me” and eventually became the hymn. She memorized vast portions of the Bible and said, “This Holy Book has nurtured my entire life.”

This hymn encapsulates the life story of the remarkable Fanny Crosby. The Savior is our hope in difficult circumstances. Like the apostle Paul, she could say, “His strength is made perfect in (my) weaknesses.” It is the testimony of countless Christians who have walked as Fanny Crosby with the inner illumination of God’s Word and God’s presence.

All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well,
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! a spring of joy I see,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! a spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me;
Oh, the fullness of His grace!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s blest embrace.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day,
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way,
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.

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