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.
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