Behind the Hymn: I Stand Amazed in the Presence

Charles Gabriel

Charles Gabriel

The other day my grandmother asked me about the song, I Stand Amazed In the Presence.

This hymn, which is also known as How Marvelous or My Savior’s Love, was written by Charles Gabriel.

Charles Hutchinson Gabriel was born in 1856 Iowa.  From a young age he showed a talent and love for music.  In 1912 he moved to Chicago to work for Homer Rodeheaver’s publishing company.

Gabriel married Fannie Woodhouse, but later the marriage ended in divorce.  Together the couple had one child.  Later, he married Amelia Moore and they had a child.

He edited gospel song books and contributed numerous hymns to various publications.  He is credited with writing between 7,000-8,000 hymns and songs in his life.  Many approached him to write the melody for their words.  Some of his hymns include His Eye is on the Sparrow, O That Will Be Glory, Send the Light, Will the Circle be Unbroken, The Old Rugged Cross, Crown Him with Many Crowns, and Away in a Manger2142cf5c04d30c74fa083f59bc84b356

The inspiration for I Stand Amazed in the Presence is not known, but Gabriel wrote both the words and melody for the song.  However, reading the lyrics, one can imagine how the passion of Christ found in the gospels vividly revealed itself to Gabriel as he penned the lyrics of the hymn.

The hymn first appeared in the 1905 E.O. Excell’s collection, Praises.  Rev. Carlton R. Young, editor of The United Methodist Hymnal, notes: “This song of gratitude and praise for the atoning death of Jesus is a personal and Adventist interpretation of Luke’s account of Jesus’ sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, a portion of the passion narrative not included in the other Gospels.”

Gabriel died on September 14, 1932 in Hollywood, California.

The song has been contemporized for modern audiences by Christian performer, Chris Tomlin.  His version is known as “I Stand Amazed”.

How does God continue to amaze you?