I know that my Redeemer lives

I know that my Redeemer lives
  And ever prays for me;
A token of His love He gives,
  A pledge of liberty.
I know that my Redeemer lives,
  A quick’ning Spirit He;
I know eternal life He gives—
  Amazing grace—to me.
I find Him lifting up my head;
  He brings salvation near;
His presence makes me free indeed,
  And He will soon appear.
He wills that I should holy be:
  What can withstand His will?
The counsel of His grace in me
  He surely shall fulfill.
Jesus, I hang upon Thy word:
  I steadfastly believe
Thou wilt return and claim me, Lord,
  And to Thyself receive.
Steve Miller

Detroit, Michigan, United States

The tune is from Handel's Messiah. Here is how Handel came to compose it:

The Spanish wars were raging. Handel's friend, Queen Caroline, had died, and his pension had been cut off. People in London were hungry for bread. Winter came on, and at times Handel had to pace the streets to keep warm and to evade his creditors. Inspiration had left him. He sat down on a bench in Fleet Street, despondent. He seemed to be losing his strength, his mind, his belief in God, his desire to live.

"Oh, God, why has all this come?" he cried in despair. Then he summoned all his strength and managed to reach his home in Brook Street. It was late, but he dragged himself to his study before retiring. There on his table was a large white envelope. With trembling hands, the musician tore it open. On the title page were the words, "The Messiah". Seeing that it was another oratorio, he tore the manuscript in half and threw it on the floor. His last oratorios had not met with approval. There was no sleep for the heavy-hearted composer that night as he turned and tossed, unable to get the torn manuscript off his mind. Should he get up and have a look at it? Just read it over? After what seemed hours, the candles were lighted again in the study.

The 1st few words were "Comfort ye, comfort ye My people." The words seemed to soothe him like wine and oil. As he read on, he felt a strange fire surge through his huge frame. Surely it was a message from the Lord directly to him! "Their iniquity is forgiven, their sin is pardoned." "The Lord Jehovah is my strength." O joy! The great musician was himself again. God had spoken to his soul! He heard and felt music again as never before! Surely the obscure parson, Pooley was inspired by God when he arranged these lines from the Bible. The words, "Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah," seemed to move every fiber of his body. How they thrilled him! "That word," said Handel, "must soar up and up until it makes the very courts of heaven ring with His praises."

Anyone who has heard the Hallelujah Chorus will know how well Handel had succeeded. Then came the words, "Come unto Him, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and He will give you rest."

"Rest, rest! I have been heavy laden," he cried. "No one can know the meaning of rest until he has suffered, in body, mind, and soul, as I have."

Even the final words, "Amen, amen, amen," seemed to thrill him, and he exclaimed, "I cannot slight one word. Every word must play its part."

In only 3 weeks time the world's greatest oratorio was finished. It was first presented in Ireland. On opening night some businessmen had called on Handel to ask if he would consider giving the proceeds of the 1st night to charity. The composer was interested and asked what the charities were.

"It is to help the sick in certain hospitals, and people in certain prisons. We are asking for the profits of only the 1st night."

Then Handel said, as if to himself, "No, I can't take one penny from this oratorio. I don't want to make money out of it. It was written by Another, not me. Yes, it must always be given to aid the sick and those in prisons. I was a prisoner, and the Lord has set me free. I was a captive and sick, but He bound up my wounds and healed me."

Then standing to his feet, he said, "Gentlemen, all the proceeds will be given to charity, to aid the sick and those in prison." The men hardly understood what it meant but they went away happy.

"The Messiah" met with overwhelming success wherever it was presented. People wept for joy as they heard its moving music. It seemed to breathe of a heavenly land. On one occasion the whole audience, including King George, stood to their feet as the "Hallelujah Chorus" was sung. It was as if they were standing reverently in the presence of the Divine.

Years later, on a Good Friday, George Frederick Handel attended a presentation of his "The Messiah" and joined in singing the Hallelujah Chorus. With the closing notes he sank to the floor and was carried out. He lingered only a short time before he went to join the heavenly choir to sing the Hallelujah Chorus around the throne of God. - Hymn Stories by Wilbur Konkel


Saluda, South Carolina, United States

The reason I like this song is because I had to do sign language.