Beloved Hymns: Jesus Loves Me
“See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know him.”1
Anna and Susan Warner lived in a lovely townhouse in New York City where their father, Henry Whtting Warner, was a successful lawyer. But, the “Panic of 1837” wrecked the family's finances, forcing them to move into a run-down Revolutionary War-era home right across from the Military Academy at West Point. Needing to contribute to the family income, Anna and Susan began writing poems and stories for publication. The girls launched parallel careers which resulted in 106 publications, 18 of them the sister’s co-authored.
One of their most successful joint projects was a novel titled, “Say and Seal” in which a little boy named Johnny Fox is dying. His Sunday school teacher, John Linden comforts him by taking him in his arms, rocking him, and making up a little song: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so….”
The novel became a best-seller, and when hymn writer William Bradbury read the words of John Linden's little song, which had been written by Anna, he composed a childlike tune to go along with them. “Jesus Loves Me” soon became the most popular children's hymn on Earth.
Even though their literary career was very successful, the Warner sisters were never able to recover from the financial crisis of 1836. Years later, a close friend of theirs wrote, “One day when sitting with Miss Anna in the old living room, she took from one of the cases a shell so delicate that it looked like lace work and holding it in her hand, with eyes dimmed with tears, she said, ‘There was a time when I was very perplexed, bills were unpaid, necessities must be had, and someone sent me this exquisite thing. As I held it, I realized that if God could make this beautiful home for a little creature, he would take care of me.’ “
For forty years, Susan and Anna conducted Bible classes for cadets at West Point, and both were buried with full military honors. They are the only civilians buried in the military cemetery at West Point. To this day, their home is maintained by West Point as a museum to their memory.
“Jesus Loves Me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus Loves Me, Yes, Jesus Loves Me,
Yes, Jesus Loves Me, The Bible tells me so.”2
Suggested Prayer: Thank you, Dear God, for loving, even me! For making me your child and granting me the promise of eternal life at your side. In Jesus’ most precious name, Amen.
1 John 3:1 (CSB).
“Jesus Loves Me”, hymn by Anna B. Warner (1860).
Today’s Encounter was written by: Veronica B.
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.