By Patrick Hawthorne
Do we really understand the impact that our written words have upon others? Yes, for the most part we put pen to paper with the anticipation that someone may be encouraged by what it is that we have written, but is our expectation so much that we even consider the possibility of forever changing lives…perhaps millions of lives?
If you are like me, you write because…well…it’s what you do. It is the manner – the gift, the grace – God has given to each of us to not only reach others but to share the thoughts that rattle around in our craniums desperately seeking an outlet in which to escape.
Being as people are people, no matter the generation born, I’m quite certain the same need to write applied to sister authors Susan Warner and Anna Bartlett Warner. I’m equally certain that neither Susan nor Anna had any inclination that one snippet from one children’s book would cause a God inspired firestorm that has forever changed the world. That’s just what happened through one seemingly insignificant fictional story written by Susan with an added poem by her sister Anna.
“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
Author Anna Bartlett Warner penned those words around 1860 at the request of her sister, Susan, who was writing the children’s novel “Say and Seal.” The request came about because Susan had a character in her book named Mr. Linden who was to sing a song of comfort to a dying child.
Jesus love me-this I know,
For the Bible tells me so:
Little ones to Him belong, –
They are weak, but He is strong…
(There are three more stanzas in the book, “Say and Seal”)
A couple of years after “Say and Seal,” was published, Christian composer William Bradbury, who wrote the treasured, “Just as I Am,” began reading the book. When he got to the part where the character sings, “Jesus loves me,” to the dying child, William was deeply moved, so moved in fact that he created a melody and a chorus that was to be sung over and over. “Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.
To all writers who read this post, never underestimate or take lightly your gift for words that has been given you by our Creator. Surely, neither Anna nor Susan could have dreamed of the impact a simple poem sung by a simple fictional character would have on future generations. Yet, it was one portion of one book that touched one person who took a simple yet deeply profound word to the entire world….JESUS LOVE ME! Be blessed.