Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
When I lived in Boynton Beach I attended a midday prayer service. I was asked to choose a hymn that spoke to my heart and read it. I choose Trust and Obey because it has been a favorite since childhood. Trust and Obey is my ‘go to’ hymn when I don’t understand why things aren’t going as planned in my life. The message serves as a personal reminder of how I need to trust in Him during trials.
Daniel Towner, who wrote the melody to Trust and Obey, inherited his love of music from his father. While growing up, Daniel studied with some of the finest musicians available and began his career as worship leader in a Methodist church in New York. Later, he served in Ohio and Kentucky before being tapped to travel with evangelist D.L. Moody in 1885.
He once explained how this hymn came to be written: “Mr. Moody was conducting a series of meeting in Massachusetts, and I had the pleasure of singing for him there. One night a young man rose in a testimony meeting and said, “I am not quite sure, but I am going to trust, and I am going to obey.” (Amen!) I just jotted that sentence down, and sent it with the little story to Rev. Sammis, a Presbyterian minister.”
Sammies wrote a poem based on the phrase “trust and obey,” and sent it back to Towner, who went to work on the music.
However, while working on the music to Trust and Obey Dr. Towner became discouraged. That evening in his home, he crumpled up the paper and threw the manuscript into the wastebasket. The next morning, as his wife was straightening his office, she retrieved the crumpled paper and sang over the words and melody to herself. She left it on the organ and encouraged her husband to work on it some more, telling him, “I feel the melody you have written is just what is needed to carry the message.” She was right.
In 1893, Dr. Towner became head of the Music Dept of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago where he trained hundreds of young people to lead worship in music. He wrote the melodies of some of our favorite hymns, including At Calvary, My Anchor Holds and Grace greater Than All Our Sins. He also complied fourteen hymn books and wrote several textbooks.
At age 70, while leading singing in revival meetings in Missouri he suffered a seizure and died, but his music continues to live on and touch hearts. As long as we have unresolved problems and unfilled desires, we have the need to trust and obey. Click here to listen to a beautiful version of Trust and Obey: