Behind the Hymn: Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus is another hymn that was born out of tragedy.

Louisa Stead

The lyrics were written by Louisa M.R. Stead in 1882.

Louisa Stead was born in 1850 England.  In 1871, she came to the United States and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She had hoped to become a missionary but was prevented by ill health.  In 1875, she married and the couple had a daughter, Lily.

One beautiful sunny day, Louisa went with her husband and four-year-old daughter, Lily, on a picnic on Long Island Sound.  During their picnic, they heard a young boy scream.  The boy was drowning and Mr. Stead ran to the rescue.  Sadly, they both drowned.  Louisa and Lily watched helplessly through this tragedy.

Louisa was now left a widow with a child to support and became destitute.  God provided for her and her daughter and they made it through.  Louisa learned to lean on God and trust in him and that faith inspired the writing of the hymn.  The exact date the hymn was written is unknown, but believed to be in the early 1880s.

The hymn was first published in Songs of Triumph in 1882.

Louisa and Lily would move to South Africa after the tragedy where they became missionaries.  While there Louisa married Robert Wodehouse.  Due to ill health, she returned to the United States in 1895.    Five years later they returned to the mission field.  Louisa retired from the mission field in 1911 and died in 1917.

William J. Kirkpatrick wrote the music to Mrs. Stead’s words.

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