LEANING ON THE EVERLASTING ARMS written in 1887
A.J. Showalter (1858-1924) was a music teacher and publisher from Hartsville, Alabama. In fact, he was teaching in singing schools by age 14!
One day, he finished his classes and was going to his rooming house for the evening. There, he found letters from 2 of his former students. Without knowing what the other had written – or even that they had written, they both told similar stories. Both of the students had lost their wives, and both wives had died on the same day! A.J. began writing letters of sympathy and condolences to his former students.
As he began writing his letters, a verse from Deuteronomy came to mind, giving the assurance of God’s “everlasting arms” supporting His children (Deut. 33:27).
Then he wrote a third letter… this one to a hymn-writer friend in Pennsylvania, Elisha Hoffman. He asked him to help him write a hymn, and suggested the theme of the chorus. Elisha quickly wrote 3 verses and sent them back to A.J. A.J. put the final poem to music… which became this hymn.
Read this hymn, and – today – lean on the everlasting arms of God.
What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms;
what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day, leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms.