by John W Peterson – (November 1, 1921 – September 20, 2006)
Though it seems I’m oft unnoticed
And lost in time and space
God above is watching o’er me
Though I cannot see His face
Higher hands are leading me
Higher hands are leading me
I am not alone, I know
As I walk this world below
For higher hands are leading me
There’s a great eternal purpose
In the life of everyone
And someday, we’ll know it’s meaning
When our days on earth are done
All my times are in His keeping
He has numbered me my years
And someday He’ll take me yonder
Where there’ll be no pain or tears
This song has a very special place in my heart. It was a song we sung as an athem during my high school days. Every time I sing this song, my childhood friends just come to mind, Annie Halupepe, Ray Munsaka, late Gift Mukonka and Elsie Choompa. We sung it as an anthem in Scripture union. The lyrics speak to me clearly and over the years they have never ceased to do so. No matter who I will become, where I will be, what I will be doing, the higher hands of God are leading me all the way until my days on this earth are done. Such a blessed assurance!
For those of you who know this song or it has been part of memories of your past. Let’s sing it together and declare the full faith and assurance that we always have in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately it has been very hard to get details on the history of this song. I am glad however to say that after much research and for many years, I have a little bit more about the author of this song. His music has been impossible to find. Now in my search for information about this man, I have discovered in Wikipedia that he now has his own website and has teamed up with his grandson making more music. John W. Peterson and his grandson, Scott Strader, combined their musical talents to create an exciting CD. Featuring a timeless collection of songs from this prolific and respected composer, this release is a memorable blend of new songs and classic favourites with rich and powerful orchestral arrangements by Don Marsh. Moving and inspirational, the recording is truly part of a rich musical heritage . . . and a lasting “Legacy.” For more details you can visit his website: www. johnwpetersonmusic.com.
This song was written by John W. Peterson (November 1, 1921 – September 20, 2006) . He was a songwriter with a major influence on evangelical Christian music in the 1950s through the 1970s. He wrote over 1000 songs, and 35 cantatas.
Born in Lindsborg, Kansas, he served as an Army Air Force pilot flying the China Hump during World War II. Later, he attended Moody Bible Institute and served on the radio staff there for a number of years. In 1953, he graduated from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and shortly thereafter settled in Pennsylvania to continue his song writing career. He then moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where for over ten years he was President and Editor-in-Chief of Singspiration, a sacred music publishing company. While there, he compiled and edited a hymnal called “Great Hymns of the Faith”, (c) 1961. He also served on the board of Gospel Films, Inc. of Muskegon, Michigan.
He also had direct contact with popular Christian musicians of the day such as Bill Pearce and Dick Anthony. He resided in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he continued to write music. Peterson died September 20, 2006, aged 84, following a bout with prostate cancer.Some of his more popular song titles include “It Took a Miracle”, “Over the Sunset Mountains”, “Heaven Came Down”, “So Send I You”, “Springs of Living Water”, “Jesus is Coming Again”, “Surely Goodness and Mercy” and “This is the day that the Lord hath made”. His cantatas include Night of Miracles and Down From His Glory.
In 1986, he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Couple of comments and devotional on this song:
Proverbs 16:9 says -“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” This Scripture is both a promise and a warning. You make your plans, but God determines which way you’re going to go.
Often God’s guidance comes through suddenly changing circumstances. What I call circumstance is really the sovereign hand of God in my life. Every circumstance that comes into your life, whether good or bad-all of them together have come down to you from the good and gracious hand of God. They are all ultimately for your benefit and for His glory.
In every situation of life God is already at work before I get there. He is working creatively, strategically, and redemptively for my good and His glory. God is already at work providing solutions for problems I don’t even know yet. It would be enough if God simply walked with you through the events of life. But He does much more than that. He goes ahead of you, clearing the way, arranging the details of life, so that when you get there, you can have confidence that He has already been there before you. He’s at work in the future while we live in the present.
QUESTIONS ABOUT GOD’S WILL: A) DEFINING GOD’S WILL – What is it?
• God’s sovereign will – God’s secret plan that determines everything that happens in the universe. Though God determines all things, He does so without being the author of sin, without violating the will of man and without destroying the reality of decision making. Each one of us is held responsible for every decision we make. Dan 4:35; Pro 21:1; 16:33; Eph 1:11; Acts 2:23; 4:27,28; Rom 9:19; 11:33- 36; Rev 4:11
• God’s moral will – God’s revealed commands in the Bible that teach how men ought to behave. 1 Thess 4:2; 1 Thess 5:18; Rom 2:18; 2 Cor 6:14; 2 Pet 3:9
• God’s individual will– God’s ideal detailed life-plan uniquely designed for each person. Guidance is given through the indwelling Holy Spirit who progressively reveals God’s life-plan to the heart of the individual believer. The Spirit uses many means to reveal this life-plan. Col 1:9; 4:12; Rom 12:2; Eph 5:17; 6:6; Pro 16:9; Ps 32:8.
B) PROOF OF GOD’S WILL – Does God have a will for my life?
• Proof of reason- God of order and plans – 1 Cor 14:40; Job 42:2; Jerem 29:11
God knows the future perfectly and He knows the outcome of any decision we might make – Matt 11:21,22.
• Proof of experience- God is our King, Shepherd, Father
• Proof of Biblical examples- The Lord Jesus Christ – Heb 10:7 to 9; John 4:34; 6:38; Luke 22:42.He knew God’s will perfectly and fulfilled it completely and wholeheartedly. The apostle Paul – 1 Cor 1:1; Gal 1:1; Rom 1:14; Acts 13:1,2; 16:10;
22:10. Joseph – Gen 50:20
• Proof of Biblical teaching- Col 1:9,10; Rom 12:1,2; Prov 3:5,6; Isa 30:21
C) THE PROCESS – How can I discover God’s will?
God’s will is like a road-map; follow it.
1. Syllabus search: -God’s will is NOT revealed like a complete syllabus. Progressive revelation –one step at a time
2. Celestial killjoy- Fear of what God’s will may reveal- “I will be sent to the ends of the world where the heat is unbearable, the language unspeakable, the food indigestible, and the snakes inhospitable Joy, fulfilment and security is to be found only when I am in the centre of God’s will
3. Bionic missionary: -God calls only those who are to be pastors and issionaries; only for superhuman Christians
4. White hair only: -Only for the mature. No God can call anyone even children and youths. At anytime of your life God can show you His will for you.
5. Lightning flash:- Paul saw lightning and heard a voice. Is that the pattern? Acts 9
God spoke through a still, small voice 1 Kings 19:12
6. Presidential problem:-God’s will is ONLY for the earthshaking choices in our lives fallacy. Our biggest decisions are preceded and brought into being by many smaller events and decisions
D) CERTAINTY – How can I know God’s will for sure in a specific situation?
Guidance is God’s responsibility: -“God guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.” Pro 2:8 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Pro 3:5,6. “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord.” Pro 20:24
My security comes from knowing the Lord and following Him.
“Follow Me” to six of the 12 disciples.
The question is never where are you going; but with whom are going. Abraham knew whom he was going with, even though he didn’t know where Heb 11:8.
1. Guidance through the Scriptures/ objective:– 95% of all guidance is through the word Prov 29:18;30:5; Ps 119:105. God will never guide me in a direction that contradicts His Word I must read, study, meditate upon the Word to find direct commands or principles that relate to specific decisions. The Bible must be interpreted historically and grammatically as it was originally intended to be understood. To twist the original meaning of the text in an attempt to discover God’s individual will for me is a misuse of Scripture and prove to be misleading. Psalms 119:105; 43:3
2. Guidance through inner desires/ subjective Pro 3:5,6; Psalms 37:4. • Delight in Him; • Depend upon Him; • Desires that are godly.
3. Prayer Psalms 143:8,10. Humility, teachability, dependency Jerem 10:23.
4. Mature counsel:- Prov 12:15; 19:20; 20:18; 15:22; 24:6. Limitation: conflicting advice
5. Use of the sanctified common sense: -• Write out pros and cons on paper. Pray over it. One list will eventually get longer.
6. Circumstances:- Open doors/ closed doors.
7. Deepening sense of peace:- Psalms 119:165; Isa 26:3
In conclusion: Dear brother, dear sister Step out in faith. “I being in the way the Lord led me.” Gen 24:48; Isaiah 30:21. If in doubt WAIT upon the Lord.