Softly and Tenderly, Come Home!

is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all.  He is my strength from day to day, Without
Him I would fall
…” I sang these lyrics from my childhood.  More than eighty years later, I begin to
understand these words as a way of life, giving me strength and purpose.
  In the physical strength of youth these words
did not seem more than sweet thoughts. Now I measure each step and thank God
for continuing health as my faith and trust continue to grow.
  No matter how much I exercise or how many
vitamins I take, nothing will sustain life on earth.

         The lyrics of another hymn we often
sang from the first hymnal – the brown Favorite Hymns (1933) – buried
themselves in my heart.  Lead me gently home, Father, Lead me gently home.
Lest I fall on the wayside, Lead me gently home
The quotes come to mind – Home
Sweet Home, Home is where the Heart is
, and then the quote from my Aunt
Irene – Home is where Mom is.  For years I took for granted the joy of
‘going home’ to see Dad and Mom.  With
the passing of time, now there is no more ‘going home’.  One day, I asked one of our sons what it is
like to come home.  He told me, not
having to worry what I will eat for my next meal.  He also told me, ‘Being on your own is sitting alone and wondering what is going on at
         One day I realized – My Home
is where Jesus is
.  Circumstances of
every day life do not dictate joy until we realize our Home in Jesus is
secure.  Heaven is Home.  The Place where there is no sin in our hearts,
jealousy, hate, anger, or ugly words. Heaven is simply an eternal living in
Love and Joy and Peace.
         In this Day of GPS, guiding our way, we
forget that our spiritual Guidance Positional System is from God.  God has positioned us to serve Him, glorify Him,
and follow His Son Jesus who shows us the Way. 
         Why does God love us so much He created
us?   Why did He create the complex world
we live in?  Because.  Our response to His Love is everything! 
            While visiting my dear
husband, I began singing this chorus:
home, Come home; Ye who are weary come home; Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is
calling, calling, O sinner, come home!
     I listened as Ed responded, “I
like that!”  I remember the years of early
Dementia when all Ed wanted was to ‘go home’. 
This innate desire to ‘go home’ is deep in our hearts. God places this
desire in our hearts.
         Ecclesiastes 3:11-12
(NKJV) –
He has made everything
beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no
one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

I know that nothing is
better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives.
         When I consider the curvature of the
rainbow, I think of the arc of time of so many people God created to live and
love on the earth.  Each one has am inner
desire of finding their eternal home. I consider people like Will Lamartine
Thompson, born in Pennsylvania, in the year 1847.  At an early age, Will was interested in music
He wrote several songs before finishing high school.  Few people were privileged to attend College
then, and Will was able to do so.  His
father was a successful merchant.  Will
received a degree in business, and later graduated from the New England
Conservatory of Music, and studied music in Leipzig, the City of Music, in
Germany.  When he tried to sell his songs
to a publisher, he received a poor price. Will decided to go into business of
music publishing and selling musical instruments. This venture proved to be
         Will Thompson had an outlet in Chicago,
and attended Dwight L. Moody’s evangelistic meeting.  He became a Christian and devoted his
composing of music to writing Christian hymns. 
He wrote, “Softly and Tenderly
in 1880.  This song became popular as an
invitation to the lost to accept Christ during evangelistic meetings. Dwight L.
Moody often used this hymn during his evangelistic meetings.  It was used in early movies.
         In 1904, Will Thompson also wrote,
“Jesus is All the World To Me”, and later, “Lead Me Gently Home”, as well as
many others.  His business prospered, and
he continued to serve God in many ways by giving of his talents and money.
         Did Will Lamartine Thompson find these
words in Psalm 96:1-3, and follow them? 
a new song to the
Lord! Let the whole
earth sing to the
Lord!  Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good
news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among
the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he
    Will Thompson visited Moody
as he lay dying, and Moody told him, “Will, I would rather have written ‘Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling’
than anything I have been able to do in my life”
    Will Lamartine Thompson made
a trip to Europe and died in 1909, shortly afterward.  Jesus softly and tenderly called Will to his
Heavenly Home! Yet, the lyrics and music Will Thompson wrote are still sung to
this day as a living testimony to faith in Jesus Christ.
    Matthew 11:28-30 — Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I
will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from

me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and
you will find rest for your souls.  For
my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
14:23 — Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves
me will obey my teaching.  My Father will
love them, and we will come to them and
make our home with them.”


3:20 — Jesus said, “Here I am! I
stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I
will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

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