The Story Behind Love Lifted Me
Author James Rowe (1865-1933) was born in England, the son of a copper miner. He immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1889. He was a railroad worker for ten years in New York before becoming an inspector for the Hudson River Humane Society.
"Love Lifted Me" was written and published in 1912. It gained popularity among United Methodists as one of the frequently sung songs in The Cokesbury Hymnal.
Rowe's text was inspired by two biblical stories. The first is from Matthew 14:22-33, where the disciples were in a boat in the middle of a frightening storm. They saw Jesus walking on the sea. He commanded Peter to join him, and Peter also began walking on the water toward Jesus. The storm scared Peter and he began to sink, calling out to Jesus to save him. Jesus caught Peter by the hand and lifted him up as they got into the boat.
The second story is Matthew 8:23-27, in which Jesus is asleep in the boat while the disciples are alarmed by a powerful storm threatening to throw them all into the sea. They wake Jesus and ask him to help them. Jesus rebukes the storm and the disciplines thank him.
Rowe's hymn masterfully incorporates both stories, using sinking or being swamped into the sea as an illustration for "sinking deep in sin…sinking to rise no more." Jesus, "Master of the sea," hears our pleas for help, reaches out to us in love, and lifts us up into the well being of grace.
Popular Hymn Lyrics with Story and Meaning
Day by Day and With Each Passing Moment
Jesus Loves Me
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Nearer My God to Thee
Abide with Me
His Eye is On the Sparrow
Be Thou My Vision
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty