Jesus Never Fails
The following is a tract published by the hymn's author that was sent to us by his daughter. We are so thankful to have the privilege of recording the author's own words on this hymn and being able to speak to his daughter!
So many requests have come in for the story of this song that I am preparing it in this form so that any who may be interested may have it. During the last twenty years this simple song has literally gone round the world on its Mission and stories still come in telling of its blessing and helpfulness. As a school boy Christian I had a burning desire to be a foreign missionary. That was not to be. Later I had an urge to write a song that everyone would sing. My popular song was a dismal failure, yet God, in His Own time and way, granted my wish and “Jesus Never Fails” has reached to the uttermost of mission fields and the multitudes have sung it. The song was written at Somerset, Kentucky, while I was there with the Dr. O.E. Williams Evangelistic Party. I received some very disturbing news from my family some 600 miles away. Worried and homesick, I sat down at the old square piano in the “Old Kentucky Home” where we were staying and as my “fingers wandered idly”, a simple melody developed beneath them which seemed to sing, “Jesus Never Fails.” Then and there the words and music of the Chorus were born. I accepted this as the answer to my heart’s prayer and I thank Him that it proved true. Reassuring news came from home. He did not fail me. However, the others in the party insisted on using the song that I selfishly thought was just for me. Evangelists all over the land began using it and soon it spread to every quarter of the globe. Scores of testimonies have come from Missionaries, Evangelists and others of the blessing that this simple three word message has been to them. It has been translated into ten European languages and into Chinese.
The missionaries on the torpedoed Zam Zam sang it while floating in the shark infested waters of the South Atlantic. It was carried into the concentration camps of Germany by these same faithful witnesses and we may be sure that God used it there to His Glory. No one will ever know in how many ways this message has appeared on mottoes, plaques, etc. Dr. Philpott tells how a Motto was slipped into the casket of a Jewish news boy. His pals who did it reported, “It went to Heaven with Bonnie.” Mrs. Williams tells me of a man who heard the Chorus as he was on his way to drown himself. He tarried to hear the Gospel Message, was gloriously saved, and is now preaching the wonderful Grace of The Jesus Who never fails. “Jesus Never Fails” has become a sort of musical slogan of Bible Believing Christians everywhere. Men sang it at the battle front as they girded themselves for the fray. On the Home Front, Saints sing it as they do battle with the forces of sin, in true confidence that the Captain of their Salvation fails not. I surely have every reason to praise God for this Song that He gave me in the hour of my need and which has gone on to bless the entire world with its message of triumph. God has indeed permitted me to be a Missionary, and hosts of His Children are singing the Song He put in my soul.
Dr. Wm. Ashby of London, England, tells me of a Church in that blitz-torn City which had “Jesus Never Fails” painted on the front of the building. For a long time the Church was spared all except minor damage. One night the pastor, who had been staying in the basement, went to spend a few hours with his family, which had been sent to a safer area. That night a bomb fell that wrecked all but the front wall of the building. The motto stood with its silent testimony until the war ended and it was torn down. That Church became known as “The Church where Jesus Never Fails.”
Some have asked why I wrote “May pass away” instead of “Shall pass away”. The thought is to bring the truth of the song into the present tense. Let Heaven and Earth pass away at this moment if it be His Will. He fails not and the future is secure. Let come what may, He is with us NOW! “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed ….”
Yours in His Precious Name,
North Collins, New York
September 1, 1947
Listen the the author sing and play this hymn, Jesus Never Fails
The telegram mentioned was of his son's illness and being rushed to a hospital. There was nothing he could do; no way possible to even get to his son. After praying about it, he went to the piano, sat down, and this thought came to him—“Jesus Never Fails,” and then, “Heaven and earth may pass away,” and so on until the song was completed.” He then wrote:
When I finished, a peace had settled over my anxious heart. I knew the God who never fails would find the answer and He did, for just then there was a knock at the door and someone came with the news—word had just been received over the telegraph wire that my son had passed the crisis and all was well!
It is helpful to remember when we want to do something for God, that he oftentimes waits till we are at the end of ourselves, living in patience; then His purpose is accomplished, often in the midst of tragedy and despair. That is a true reward of patience.
Arthur A. Luther, Jesus Never Fails (North Collins, New York: A. A. Luther, 1947).
Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1990), p. 215.
Alfred B. Smith, Al Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Histories (Greenville, South Carolina: Better Music Publications, 1985), pp. 219-220.
Favorite Hymns of Praise (Wheaton, Illinois: Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1980), p. 165.
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