The author of "God Leads Us Along" was a carpenter and preacher. George A. Young and his wife had a ministry in rural communities in the Midwest during the nineteenth century. They were able to build a small home for their family on their meager income. One time, when the Youngs were away holding evangelistic meetings, someone set fire to their house and burned it to the ground. This tragic experience inspired him to write the words and music for this gospel hymn, published in 1903.
Forty years later, Dr. Haldor Lillenas, founder of the Lillenas Publishing Company and composer of over 4,000 hymns, wanted to know about the inspiration for this hymn that he fondly remembered from his childhood. Born in Norway, his family immigrated to America when he was a child. The lady who had taught him English and had led him to the Lord frequently sang "God Leads Us Along." When Lillenas discovered that the hymn writer's widow was still alive, living in a nearby County Poor House, he was greatly concerned and visited her there. He was amazed by her testimony. She explained that God led her there, and since so many people were there to spend their final days, she enjoyed "introducing them to Jesus!" She said, "Dr. Lillenas, isn't it wonderful how God leads!"
"God Leads Us Along" is a testimony of the Youngs' faith in very difficult situations. Reminiscent of Psalm 23 begins by expressing the peace that comes from God's leading. It then explains that all the ups and downs of life, including Satan's opposition, can be conquered by the grace of God. Finally, just as David experienced God's forgiveness, was lifted from the miry clay, and was given a new direction for his life, Christians are still being led by the same Lord (Psalm 40:2).
The refrain summarizes the kinds of difficulties that occur throughout life. The Youngs had undoubtedly been through the fire! Christians must have confidence in God's saving grace because of the blood Christ shed for us (Matthew 26:28). If we trust Him, we can experience God's song even in the darkest of times, the "night season" of life (Job 35:10).
This gospel hymn continually reminds us that God is always with believers through challenging times for over one hundred years. He will not forsake His own.
"Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." (Psalm 73:24)
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