Safe In The Arms of Jesus

Safe in the arms of Jesus,  Safe on His gentle breast;
There by His love o’ershaded, Sweetly my soul shall rest.
Hark! ’tis the voice of angels Borne in a song to me,
Over the fields of glory, Over the jasper sea.

Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe on His gentle breast;
There by His love o’ershaded, Sweetly my soul shall rest.

 Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe from corroding care,
Safe from the world’s temptations; Sin cannot harm me there.
Free from the blight of sorrow, Free from my doubts and fears;
Only a few more trials, Only a few more tears!

 Jesus, my heart’s dear Refuge, Jesus has died for me;
Firm on the Rock of Ages Ever my trust shall be.
Here let me wait with patience, Wait till the night is o’er;
Wait till I see the morning Break on the golden shore.

We have looked at the life of Fanny Cosby before while commenting on other hymns done by her and this is one of her great hymns. Of all her hymns, Fanny Crosby’s own favorite was “Safe in the arms of Jesus,” and the general verdict agrees with her. Its opening words were often upon her lips in life, and, in all probability, were the last she uttered before entering the valley of the shadow of death.

I find the story behind Safe in the Arms of Jesus to be a summary of the life story of one of the greatest hymnists Fanny Crosby. It is a great and a challenge to us all. The hymns of Fanny Crosby were written for the hearts of the people, and they are cherished by countless Christians. Her compositions are warm, simple, tender, direct, intimate, and intensely earnest. She was not very good at braille it is said, and so she composed her poems and hymns entirely in her mind and then dictated them to someone else.  But this particular hymn speaks a lot about what she went through as a person and finding peace in the arms of Jesus.

The story behind this particular hymn is a rather difficult one.  According to the resources I have, the thought behind this hymn came to her after an awful tragedy in Mrs. Crosby’s life.  She was pregnant, but lost the baby during childbirth.  She was so personally devastated by the event that she hardly spoke to anyone about it, and never told anyone if the child was a boy or a girl.  Years later, in 1868, a musician by the name of Mr. Doane  stopped by her apartment. He was in a hurry and had only about 40 minutes before he could catch his train. He said to her, “Fanny, I have a tune I would like to have you write words for.” He played it over and she exclaimed, “That says ‘Safe in the arms of Jesus!”‘ She went to her room, and in half an hour the hymn was finished. It has gone everywhere; it knows no limitations of race or sect. She pinned the words of this hymn and she felt that it was written for the bereaved, especially mothers that had lost their children.

I hope you will re-read the words to this song with an understanding of the circumstances behind it because I think you will not only see the hope that she had for her lost child, but you will also see the comfort she received from the Lord.  I hope all of us can realize that in His arms is the only place we truly find peace and rest.

A few short comments on the lyrics:

  • “By His love overshaded” – I find it interesting that she doesn’t write about the pain that she was experiencing being “taken away” or being freed from the circumstances, but writes that the pain and hurt were “overshaded” by His love.  As a parent, I don’t know if I can even imagine the depth of pain she must have felt.  But I am encouraged by the fact that God’s love for her was so real that it overshaded that deep hurt, and that she could testify to His great love.
  • “Safe from corroding care” – One of the definitions of the word “corrode” is “to eat or wear away gradually.”  Isn’t that what care and worry seem to do in our lives?  Constant worry over things tend to eat away at our faith and can leave us discouraged.  But I am reminded by these words that we can be “safe from corroding care” when we are leaning on and trusting in the Lord.  When we “cast all our cares upon Him,” it changes how we view our circumstances, and should be an encouragement to us.
  • “Free from the blight of sorrow” – One definition for the verb “blight” is “to destroy, ruin, or frustrate.”  Although I have experienced some sadness in my life, I have not been through deep sorrow like Mrs. Crosby must have felt.  A sorrow that destroys, ruins, and frustrates.  I can imagine this singular event, the loss of a child, impacted her the rest of her life.  That kind of sorrow can destory hope, ruin plans, and be a source of constant frustration.  But aren’t you glad that there is freedom in Christ from sorrow?  The Bible reminds us in Psalm 30:5 that “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  The author’s words are a testimony to the comfort found in the arms of God.

I am sure that you pabably have heard of so many traffic accidents that have taken away so many lives. You might even wonder whether as we travel on the roads every day to and from work and other places, we are safe at all.  However, this hymn reminds us of the true source of safety and happiness.  It is not found in bigger reinforced vehicles, nor better roads and highways neither in big savings accounts.  True safety is not found in a vehicle with a bull bar in front or with anti-lock brakes and airbags, or a house with razor wire and an alarm system, security dogs and armed watchmen.  True happiness is not just an emotional fix we get when everything is going right in our lives.  True safety and happiness are only found in God.  When we are living in His will and trusting in His care.

I hope the words of this hymn, written by a Godly lady about a difficult time in her life, will encourage you during  your difficult times  in your life.  I pray that we all have a Safe  life every day – in the arms of Jesus.

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