Trust and Obey

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"Trust and Obey" was written by John H. Sammis in 1887, listed in The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 467. The meaning of this hymn is fairly self-explanatory as Sammis illustrates the rewards of trusting God’s word and obeying God’s will. Below you will find the lyrics and history behind this powerful hymn.

1 When we walk with the Lord 
in the light of his word, 
what a glory he sheds on our way! 
While we do his good will, 
he abides with us still, 
and with all who will trust and obey. 

Trust and obey, for there's no other way 
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. 

2 Not a burden we bear, 
not a sorrow we share, 
but our toil he doth richly repay; 
not a grief or a loss, 
not a frown or a cross, 
but is blest if we trust and obey. [Refrain]

3 But we never can prove 
the delights of his love 
until all on the altar we lay; 
for the favor he shows, 
for the joy he bestows, 
are for them who will trust and obey. [Refrain]

4 Then in fellowship sweet 
we will sit at his feet, 
or we'll walk by his side in the way; 
what he says we will do, 
where he sends we will go; 
never fear, only trust and obey. [Refrain]

Songwriters John H. Sammis Published by Public Domain

The Story Behind Trust and Obey

John H. Sammis was the writer of the Christian hymn Trust and Obey in 1887 with music composed by Daniel Towner the year before.  Sammis was born in 1846, in Brooklyn, New York and died in 1919 in Los Angeles, California. A man of business who later turned to preaching for a Presbyterian church, John Sammis additionally wrote the popular hymn He's a Friend of Mine. He also was a teacher at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. 

The inspiration for this hymn began in 1886 when the composer of the music, Daniel B. Towner, was the music conductor during one of Dwight L. Moody’s renowned revivals. Towner offered the following testimony cited by Moody’s musical partner, Ira D. Sankey, in his biography, My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns

“Mr. Moody was conducting a series of meetings in Brockton, Massachusetts, and I had the pleasure of singing for him there. One night a young man rose in a testimony meeting and said, ‘I am not quite sure—but I am going to trust, and I am going to obey.’ I just jotted that sentence down and sent it with a little story to the Rev. J. H. Sammis, a Presbyterian minister. He wrote the hymn, and the tune was born.” 

The text and music first appeared in the 1887 collection, Hymns Old and New, and the hymn and has been listed in countless hymnals since then. Methodist hymnals in the United States have included it since 1897. 



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