SWEETER AS THE YEARS GO BY written in 1912
Lelia Naylor (1862-1929) moved with her parents and siblings to the small town of Malta, Ohio, when she was 4 years old. That was where she grew up, went to school, fell in love, and got married. When she got married, she moved across the Ohio River to McConnelsville, where she lived with her husband for the next 47 years.
Now known as Lelia Naylor Morris, she didn’t discover her gift for writing hymns until she was 30 years old. But, once she started, she couldn’t stop. She started going blind in her early 50s, but even that didn’t stop her from writing hymns. She used a 28’-long blackboard with large musical staffs on it to help her with her hymn-writing. By the time she died at age 67, she had written more than a thousand hymns.
Her handicap never deterred her from being effective and productive for God. Even in blindness she found her Lord sweeter as the years went by.
This is an odd hymn to sing… maybe that is why I remember it. It changes timing from verse to chorus… and then changes timing again even within the chorus!
Read this hymn, and – today – rejoice in the love of Jesus that seems to grow sweeter each year… even each day!
Of Jesus’ love that sought me, when I was lost in sin;
of wondrous grace that brought me back to His fold again;
of heights and depths of mercy, far deeper than the sea,
and higher than the heavens, my theme shall ever be.
Sweeter as the years go by, sweeter as the years go by,
richer, fuller, deeper, Jesus’ love is sweeter, sweeter as the years go by.
He trod in old Judea life’s pathway long ago;
the people thronged about Him, His saving grace to know;
He healed the brokenhearted, and caused the blind to see;
and still His great heart yearneth in love for even me. (Refrain)
’Twas wondrous love which led Him for us to suffer loss,
to bear without a murmur the anguish of the cross;
with saints redeemed in glory, let us our voices raise,
till Heav’n and earth re-echo with our Redeemer’s praise. (Refrain)