Robert Lowry felt that preaching would be his greatest contribution in life. However, this 19th-century pastor is best remembered for his gospel music and hymns. Lowry composed words or music for more than 500 songs, including “Christ Arose,” “I Need Thee Every Hour,” and “Shall We Gather at the River?”
In 1860, as the United States teetered on the brink of civil war, Lowry wrote these enduring words that focus not on threatening circumstances but on the unchanging Christ:
What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness gather round!
Songs in the night He giveth:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of Heav’n and earth,
How can I keep from singing?
Lowry’s confidence in God during difficult times echoes the psalmist’s words: “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. . . . Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Ps. 146:3-5).
Whether we react to life with faith or fear depends on our focus. Knowing that “the Lord shall reign forever” (v.10), how can we keep from singing?