This hymn may be best known from the Billy Graham crusades but it was written in the 1800’s by Charlotte Elliott. Elliott wrote over 150 hymns but this was the first time I recall hearing of her and her story. She was a preacher’s daughter and granddaughter who became ill in her early 30s and was sick and considered ‘invalid’ for the rest of her life.
She became bitter due to the pain and the story goes that she made a rude comment to a preacher (who became a mentor for her) when he was talking with her. After she apologized, he told her that Jesus loved her just as she was. This conversation is what later inspired the now famous hymn.
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Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
This hymn is one that really resonates with me because so often I have heard people talk about needed to ‘get their life together’ so they can go to church or come back to Jesus, but Jesus wants us just where we are. He doesn’t leave us that way, he changes us to be more like him, but he wants us to come just as we are. There are many scriptures that could be used when studying this hymn, but one of my favorites is Mark 2: 17. “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.””
As we study this hymn there are some really beautiful versions to enjoy, everything from Alan Jackson’s county sound to Mahalia Jackson’s strong gospel voice. It is a wonderful opportunity to talk with our children about how God can take us where ever we are and bring us back to him.
If you would like to add some art to your study this month, Nana has this wonderful chalk pastel painting of the Apostle Paul shipwrecked to match this Just as I am hymn. Verse three says, “Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt”. Paul was literally tossed about in his ship, but we can often relate to feeling like life is tossing us about.
I pray you enjoy time with your children studying this hymn this month. I would love for you to share your thoughts on this hymn in the comments.
Hymn Study Resources:
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