HE HAS MADE ME GLAD written in 1976
The author of this song was no stranger to difficulty. Leona Bruce Von Brethorst (1924-2010) was a child of Appalachia, born in Stinking Creek, Tennessee. She was 1 of 11 children, and she often went to school without shoes.
After high school, she moved to Detroit, Michigan, to work in a defense plant during World War 2. After the war, she relocated to California, where she got married and had 2 children. But her husband left her before her oldest child was 3 years old.
Leona was crushed. She battled depression and worked odd jobs so she and her children could have food to eat.
Her church was a stabilizing force in her life, and she was asked to be a worship leader. At first she laughed at the idea, but she eventually agreed, even though she said, “I don’t know a note of music or how to play an instrument.”
She wrote personal poems and songs to help her through lonely times. She organized an outreach that fed the homeless. She loved to sew and made clothes for herself and her girls, and also made quilts for anyone in need.
Depression struck Leona again when her children left home, and she was devastated by loneliness. She began to spend more time in prayer and Bible study. One day after reading in Chronicles about the dedication of the temple, and how the glory of the Lord filled the place, and after reading Psalm 100 about entering God’s courts with thanksgiving in one’s heart, she realized thanksgiving is the key to knowing the joy of the Lord. That’s when she wrote this song, “He Has Made Me Glad”.
She sang this song for the first time publicly the following Sunday for her Sunday School class, and people have been singing it ever since.
Read this chorus, and – today – examine whether or not you are finding gladness in God.
I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart;
I will enter His courts with praise!
I will say this is the day that the Lord has made;
I will rejoice for He has made me glad!
He has made me glad! He has made me glad!
I will rejoice for He has made me glad! (2x)