Where Could I go but to the Lord

words & music by JB Coates
where could I goLiving below in this old sinful word,
Hardly a comfort can afford;
Striving alone to face temptations sore,
Where could I go but to the Lord?

Where could I go, O where could I go,
Seeking a refuge for my soul?
Needing a friend to save me in the end,
Where could I go but to the Lord?

Neighbours are kind, I love them eve’ry one,
We get along in sweet accord;
But when my soul needs manna from above,
Where could I go but to the Lord?

Life here is grand with friends I love so dear;
Comfort I get from God‘s own word;
Yet when I face the chilling hand of death,
Where could I go but to the Lord?

Where could I GO, but to The LORD!! This indeed ought to be our conclusion. Even though most of the time in our lives things run smoothly and they go great for us, there are occasionally going to be obstacles that try to bring us down, You see, they come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, the devil doesn’t care what it takes to bring you down, just as long as you come down.

This song, “Where Could I Go but to the Lord”, was written in 1940 by James (J. B.) Coats from the Gitano Community (Jones County), Mississippi. The inspiration for the song came some years earlier when Mr. Coats was at the bedside of one of his dying neighbours, an AfricanAmerican gentleman named Joe Keyes.

Being a preacher, Mr. Coats had asked Mr. Keyes if he knew where he would spend eternity when he did. Mr. Keyes simply replied, “Where could I go but to the Lord?” Some years later, as he was away from home teaching a singing school, Mr. Coats finally included these words in a gospel song. Mr. Coats died on December 15th 1961.

What I like about this particular hymn is that it asks a simple, yet profound, question – Where could I go but to the Lord?  The phrasing of this particular question communicates a couple of different things to me.  The first thing I get from this phrase is “I have no other option but going to the Lord.”  This is a mindset that God, and only God, can help me in difficult times in my life.  It is an acknowledgement that there is no one that can help but God.  Sometimes we lean on doctors, family, friends, the Church, or our finances to get us through, and all of those things can be tools God uses to help us through difficult times.  But the reality is there is no other option for us to take our problems to but to Him.

“Where would I go?’  This question almost comes from a state of desperation.  This mindset lives as if one has no hope and has no one to turn to.  It is almost as if nobody cares, and one has nowhere to turn.

So, where are you going today?  No, I’m not talking about going to work, or on vacation, or to the grocery store.  Where are you taking your problems and concerns today?  I hope you can echo the words of another old chorus we used to sing growing up “I go to the Rock of my salvation.  I go to the stone that the builder’s rejected.  I run to the mountain and the mountain stands by me.  The earth all around is sinking sand.  On Christ the solid rock I stand.  When I need a shelter, when I need a friend, I go to the Rock.”  There is no other place we can go…or should go.


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