Sunday, January 9, 2022

Draw Me Nearer

These days I find myself revisiting the hymns of my youth. I grew up singing them every Sunday, but I don't think I ever truly appreciated the depth and beauty of the words until I was much older.

I wrote a series on hymns and their authors eleven years ago and thought this might be a good time to revisit it. I pray you find a measure of comfort and peace in the glorious words:

I found a lovely article by Bill Dagle on the origin of this hymn and will borrow a bit from him so that you can have a bit of background.
Although blind from birth, Fanny could see things in a way that those of us blessed with good vision cannot. She had a grandmother who spent countless hours teaching her and a Savior she loved deeply. Over the course of her lifetime she wrote over 8000 hymns.

One of Fanny's dear friends was William Doane, a factory president and active Baptist layman.
He shared Fanny's love for music and wrote the music to many of her hymns as well as over 2000 gospel songs of his own.

It was while Fanny was visiting the Doane home in Cincinnati that she was inspired to write the hymn "Draw Me Nearer." It was a late afternoon, and the family began describing to their blind friend the beauty of the sunset. They talked about the wonder of God's creation and the desire to live a life pleasing to Him.

Fanny asked Doane to write down the words to a poem that was forming in her mind and in just a short time the words to "Draw Me Nearer" were completed.

Mr.Dagle writes:

"Many will go through this life never seeing the things that blind Fanny did. In her blindness, she saw a loving Father and a caring Son who opened the door to heaven for those who would accept and believe. She also saw a day when, on the other side, all things would be made new, including her own eyes. Most of all, she saw a need for us today to draw nearer to the one who gave His all in all, and that one is Jesus Christ. Because of this, she would write:"

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith,
And be closer drawn to Thee.

Consecrate me now to Thy service Lord,
by the pow'r of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.

O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend!

There are depths of love that I cannot know
Till I cross the narrow sea;
There are heights of joy that I may not reach
Till I rest in peace with Thee.

Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou has died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious bleeding side.

It was this verse that Fanny had in mind when she wrote these words:
Hebrews 10:22
"Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."