"Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.”
The name “Isaac Watts” is printed in nearly every modern hymnal today. Born the oldest of nine children on July 17, 1674, Isaac Watts would go down in history as “The Father of English Hymnody” – the father of hymns in the English language. Many of the 600 hymns he wrote during his lifetime are still sung today, including “I Sing the Mighty Power of God,” “Joy to the World,” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
Watts intended to spend his life as a pastor, but shortly after accepting the job at his first church, he got very sick and never fully recovered. As a result of his poor health, he was forced to stay at home and write. Not surprisingly, God used Watts’ illness for His glory. Many of our hymns would never have been written had he not been sick enough to have to stay home!
Besides writing hymns, Watts wrote books on all kinds of other subjects – like astronomy, ethics, geography, and grammar. His writing was published by Benjamin Franklin, and his books were used in colleges around the country.
Standing only five feet tall, with a very weak and feeble body, Watts did not imagine God would ever use him – but how wrong he was! God used this poet – and continues to use him today! – in churches around the world. One of his little known hymns includes the following words:
Happy the man whose hopes rely
On Israel’s God: He made the sky,
And earth, and seas, with all their train:
His truth for ever stands secure;
He saves th’oppressed, He feeds the poor,
And none shall find His promises vain.
Do you doubt that God could use you in spite of your shortcomings and limitations? Encourage your heart with biblical truths about Whose strength and power and knowledge really matters (God’s!). Some of Watts’ hymn lyrics might help you meditate on right thoughts about God, too!
Ephesians 5:19 – Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.