THE SAVIOR IS WAITING written in 1958
The composer, Ralph Carmichael (1927 – ), is the son of a Pentecostal minister who allowed his son to play the violin and listen to the radio. As a teenager, he played violin with the San Jose Civic Symphony. At 17 he enrolled at Southern California Bible College, now Vanguard University, to become a preacher like his father, grandfather, 3 uncles and 5 cousins.
He started a campus men’s quartet, ensembles and mixed groups of all kinds, blending jazz and classical music techniques with gospel songs and hymns. His musical “experiments” proved instantly controversial. His bands were unwelcome at many churches, and he was not allowed to store the baritone saxophone on campus because of its worldly associations with big band music.
After college, reaction to his band was mixed from the Christian community. One church made them hide the drums behind a curtain; a pastor in Oakland stopped the band mid-song because the music sounded too worldly. But, after a performance at a men’s fellowship in Pasadena, Ralph’s band was invited to audition for television. This program drew so much hate mail from Christians that the station asked for more shows!
In 1951, Ralph was invited to score a film for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; in all, he wrote the musical score for 20 of their films. For BGEA, he made the funky urban soundtrack for the 1970 film The Cross and the Switchblade.
By the late 1950s, secular producers had taken notice of Carmichael’s radio and film work. He was invited to assist the composer at the television sitcom I Love Lucy and was soon arranging music for that show as well as Bonanza and The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show and for singers Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and Rosemary Clooney. He scored the movie The Blob. But, when he arranged and composed music for a Bing Crosby Christmas special television program, his denomination strongly suggested he not apply for renewal of his ordination.
When it came to writing his autobiography, he decided the best title would be his testimony, so he called it, “He’s Everthing To Me”. He is considered a pioneer of contemporary Christian music and the “father of Christian rock”.
This song, “The Savior Is Waiting”, is one of Ralph’s earlier songs. It was written when his pastor asked him for a hymn to be used at evangelistic services.
My oldest and favorite memory of this hymn was it being sung during the invitation… almost every night… at Camp Formosa Church Camp when I was a teenager. When this hymn is sung, you can almost picture the Savior waiting for you to come to Him.
Read this hymn, and – today – ask yourself if you’re still keeping the Savior waiting.
The Savior is waiting to enter your heart,
why don’t you let Him come in?
There’s nothing in this world to keep you apart;
what is your answer to Him?
Time after time He has waited before,
and now He is waiting again
to see if you are willing to open the door;
Oh, how He wants to come in.
If you’ll take one step toward the Savior, my friend,
you’ll find His arms open wide.
Receive Him, and all of your darkness will end;
within your heart He’ll abide. (Chorus)