“God does not care for me or mine.” “This particular manifestation of what they call ‘divine providence’ is unworthy of a God of love.” Those words came from the mouth of the same person as these: “God’s way is the best.”
Her name is Mary Ann Baker. Her parents had both died of a disease, and now her dear brother had succumbed to the same disease. He had traveled a thousand miles from Chicago trying to find a change in climate to improve his health, but to no avail. To make matters worse he was on his deathbed, wishing that his favorite sister could help him, but she was bedridden at home. They could only correspond by telegram until his death in two weeks.
It was almost more than she could bear. She could not imagine why God would allow this, when she did not feel that she deserved it. What had she done wrong?
Soon, however, she realized that the Lord was just molding her into His likeness. He was not a God wreaking vengeance on His children, but carefully guiding a rebellious child.
Shortly (in 1894), Rev. H.R. Palmer asked her to write several songs for children. One of the subjects was from Mark 4:37-39:
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
Because the Lord had calmed the tempest in her soul, she was able to write words that have meaning to so many.
The melody was then written by Rev. Palmer. This song was published in a hymnbook and later “re-discovered” when President James Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau. As the American people prayed for his recovery, this song became well-known, being sung over and over again.
Quoting from Mr. Ernest Emurian, “The author ‘grew in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ until she could truthfully say, in vivid contrast to the bitterness of her rebellious years, ‘God’s way is the best.’”
Ernest K. Emurian, Living Stories of Famous Hymns (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979), pp.83-85.