"Precious Lord"

Back in 1932 I was 32 years old and a fairly new husband. My wife,
Nettie and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago's Southside.
One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis, where I was to
be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting.

I didn't want to go. Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with
our first child. But a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis.

I kissed Nettie good-bye, clattered downstairs to our Model A and, in
a fresh Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago on Route 66.

However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at leaving,
I had forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back. I
found Nettie sleeping peacefully. I hesitated by her bed; something
was strongly telling me to stay. But eager to get on my way, and not
wanting to disturb Nettie, I shrugged off the feeling and quietly
slipped out of the room with my music.

The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on
me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy
ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope.

Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words:


People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could
hardly keep from crying out.

I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could hear on the other
end was "Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead." When I got back, I
learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between
grief and joy.

Yet that night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy
together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart.

For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an
injustice. I didn't want to serve Him any more or write
gospel songs.

I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well.

But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first
sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis.
Something kept telling me to stay with Nettie.

Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention to
Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when
she died.

From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But still
I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially a friend,
Professor Fry, who seemed to know what I needed.

On the following Saturday evening he took me up to Malone's
Poro College, a neighborhood music school.

It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained
windows. I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse
over the keys.

Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as though
I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody,
one into my head-they just seemed to fall into place:

Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand!
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Through the storm,
through the night, lead me on to the light,

Take my hand, precious Lord, Lead me home.

The Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my
spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when
we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and
when we are most open to His restoring power.

And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until
that day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.

Tommy Dorsey

Scripture: Psalm 32:7

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from
trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.






Song: "Precious Lord"
Sequenced By: Wanda
Used with Permission

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