Behind the Hymn: Trusting Jesus

Trusting Jesus was written by Edgar Page Stites.  The music was written by Ira D. Sankey.

Edgar Page Stites

Edgar Page Stites was a direct descendant of John Howland, one of the Mayflower passengers.  Stites served in the Civil War before becoming a riverboat pilot and later a missionary to churches in South Dakota.

The poem first appeared in the newspaper.  The poem came into the possession of Evangelist Dwight L. Moody.  Moody gave the poem to his song leader, Ira D. Sankey, and asked him to set it to music.

The song was first published in Sankey’s Sacred Songs and Solos in 1878.

In his 1906 autobiography, Ira Sankey recalled the following about the comfort of the song:

About two years ago, writes a minister, “I visited a woman who was suffering from an incurable disease; but great as was her agony of body, her distress of mind was greater still. One day she said: ‘The future is so dark, I dare not look forward at all.’

“To my question, ‘Can’t you trust yourself in God’s hands?’ She replied: ‘No, I can’t leave myself there.’

I repeated the hymn, Simply trusting every day, and especially dwelt on the refrain, Trusting as the moments fly, trusting as the days go by. Ah, she said, I can trust him this moment; is it like that? I then sang the hymn to her, and the change that came over her was wonderful. She never lost this trust, and she had the page in her hymn-book turned down, that she might have the hymn read to her. After many months of intense suffering she passed away, simply trusting, to the land where there shall be no more pain.”

Do you trust Jesus?