Behind the Hymn: Safe in the Arms of Jesus
Safe in the Arms of Jesus was written by Fanny Crosby.
On April 30, 1868, William Howard Doan, a composer and friend of Crosby’s knocked on her door.
He said, “Miss Fanny, I have exactly forty minutes before my train leaves for Cincinnati, and I must take that train.”
He explained he wanted a new hymn next month when he attended the state-wide Sunday School convention in Cincinnati.
Turning to the piano William Doan sat down and played his new tune in a rousing and stirring manner.
Upon finishing, Fanny Crosby said “Your music says ‘Safe in the arms of Jesus.’ What could be more appropriate for boys and girls at a Sunday School convention?”
She went to her desk and in less than twenty minutes, wrote the lyrics to Safe in the Arms of Jesus. Mr. Doane played through the tune several other times, as Crosby continued to write.
Crosby explained, “Then followed a space of twenty minutes, during which I was unconscious of all else except the work I was doing.”
When she was through, she folded the sheet of paper, placed it in an envelope and handed it to her friend.
Since he was in a hurry, she told him that he could read it while on the train.
The seed for these words may have come from a story told to Fanny Crosby of an event in New York City in which a little girl fell from her in panic. The mother whispered ‘Hush, my little one, you are safe now, in mother’s arms.’.
The song was played on August 8, 1885, when American President Ulysses S. Grant was interred.
Ira Sakey wrote of a mother recounting that her daughter asked to sing this song before she passed into the arms of Jesus.
Do you feel the arms of Jesus around you?