Monday, February 24, 2014

Hymns & Hymn Writers: Let Him Have His Way With Thee by David R. Kenney

From a collegiate standpoint, I prepared myself for a career in Management having obtained a BBA in Business Management from Freed-Hardeman University and the MBA from Kent State University.  While pursuing a career in business, I still had a desire to preach so I pursued some congregations which were looking for a preacher, but I never could find a match.  It can become discouraging when you are looking to serve but cannot seem to find a place to serve.  I have seen veteran gospel preachers weep when they had reached the conclusion that there were no pulpits that were willing to hear them preach.  I hope by writing this that congregations will be more attentive to those who have sacrificed much in days past for the furtherance of the kingdom of Christ.  When I was a bit discouraged about the matter, I happened to had the opportunity of meeting Wilson Wallace in Woodbridge, VA, and he was discussing the background of the hymn Let Him Have His Way With Thee by Cyrus Nusbaum.  I have never had a pressing desire to do much research on hymns and their creators; however, the story of Cyrus Nusbaum inspired me to research, preach and write this column called “Hymns & Hymn Writers”.  My good friend Wilson Wallace passed away February 24, 2103 which is one year ago from the date that I am typing these words.  He was a great encouragement to me.  Incidentally, Wilson Wallace was the son of Foy E. Wallace, Jr.
Cyrus Silvester Nusbaum (1861-1937), Lyricist & Composer
Cyrus Silvester Nusbaum was born July 27, 1861 in Middlebury, Indiana.  He served as a U. S. Army Captain in the American Red Cross in France during World War I. 
He was a school teacher and was ordained as a Methodist Evangelist in 1886.  He began serving a group of seven congregations in one of the poorest circuits and districts in Kansas.  After working with circuit for a year, he and his wife went to the Methodist Conference to see about being re-assigned hoping to have a better work to help support the family.  They had prayed fervently for a better position; however, the Conference’s decision was for them to keep working the same circuit of churches.  At first angered, then discouraged, then submissive, he poured some of his emotions into “Let Him Have His Way With Thee” the night the decision was made.  The song was published in 1898. 
He wrote other hymns and music, but this hymn is the one that has endured.  Another one that a person might be familiar with is “I Have A Friend, The Best of All To Me”.  The Southwestern College conferred upon him the Doctorate of Divinity degree where he had served as Educational Secretary in Winfield, Kansas.  He continued to serve small churches in Kansas as opportunities arose.  Cyrus Nusbaum died December 27, 1937 in Wichita, Kansas and is buried in Walnut Hill Cemetery in Kingman, Kansas. 
Let Him Have His Way With Thee
We may face what appear to be devastating disappointments.  We may be laid off from work.  We may have to relocate our family.  We may have to change careers.  We may have family problems.  We may struggle financially.  We may struggle spiritually.  We might have health battles to fight.  Through any of these, we may wonder, does God really care?  He does.
Jesus has demonstrated the level of commitment He has toward God and us. He spoke these words while on the earth—“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels”  (Mark 10:34-38, NKJV.)   Where is the demonstration of our commitment to Him?  Do we only serve Him when it is convenient to do so?  Remember the words of Job—“Shall we not accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”  (Job 2:10b, NKJV).
Kenneth W. Osbeck, 101 More Hymn Stories, Part 2, p. 123.
John P. Wiegand, Editor, Praise for the Lord, Nashville, TN:  Praise Press, 1997.

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