Behind the Song: Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting

I had never heard this hymn until recently when I attended the funeral of a dear man of God.  He had served as pastor for several churches before being called to the mission field, where he ministered for more than three decades.

The point I found interesting in researching this story was how this song has ministered to other missionaries.7931a4747e7506d06525c3cd4f41fa9a

Thomas Piggott was a missionary to China.  His sister, Jean Piggott, wrote the song, Jesus, I am Resting, Resting.  This was only one of two known hymns that she wrote in her short thirty-seven years.  {The other hymn is Lord Jesus, Thou Dost Keep Thy Child}.

Jean Sophia Piggott was born in County Kildare, Ireland on September 8, 1845.  Almost two years later on August 5, 1847, her brother Thomas Wellesley Piggot was born to their parents William Wellesley and Lucy Henrietta Trench Piggot.  Six more siblings would follow over the years.

Biographical information on Jean has been unobtainable.  We do know she contributed hymns to Hymns of Con­se­cra­tion and Faith, and in 1877, pub­lished A Roy­al Service, and Other Po­ems.  She died on October 12, 1882 in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland.

Her brother, Thomas, arrived in China in 1879 as a missionary.  In a letter written in May 1896, he says in part “Now there are many hundreds of converts, many of them earnest, faithful men, and a large number of stations where thousands are brought under Christian influence. How shall we look on the investment of our lives and labour here, even from the near standpoint of one hundred years hence? I am, I can truly say, more grateful every day for the opportunity of serving Christ, and I believe this to be the only true and sober view of life s realities. The work pressed home now, will make all the difference a few years hence.”resting resting

On July 9, 1901 he was executed at the age of fifty-three, along with seventy-six other Christian missionaries, in the Boxer Rebellion at the Sheo Yang Mission uprising.  This is also known as the Taiyuan Massacre.

TaylorJ. Hudson Taylor, a great missionary to China for 51 years, was terribly saddened to hear of the loss of his friends and fellow missionaries following the slayings. Jesus, I am Resting, Resting became a great comfort to him during this time. 

With more than 500 references to “rest” found in the English Bible, one can imagine how several of these scriptures must have inspired Jean Piggot to write this hymn.

The music was composed by James Mountain.  Born in 1844 England, he was a pastor and evangelists. He died in 1933 Kent, England.

Even today the song continues to move others and provide comfort.  On her website, Joni Erickson Tada, shares a story of how singing this hymn led to a moving experience in a most unlikely place.  I encourage you to click on the link to hear Joni share her story.

How are you resting in Jesus?