One night at a Dwight L. Moody evangelistic meeting in Brockton, Massachusetts, a young man stood up to testify about his confidence of salvation. He said, “I am not quite sure,” meaning that he wasn’t really certain that God would save him from his sins—and then he continued, “But I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey”—meaning that he planned to trust God for his salvation and to do what he could to obey God’s will.
“I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey.” Daniel Towner was the song leader for that meeting. He was so impressed by the young man’s testimony that he wrote down those words and stuck them in his pocket. Later, he wrote a friend, John Sammis. In his letter, he told about the young man’s testimony and included the young man’s words: “I am not quite sure, but I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey.”
Sammis quickly transformed those words into a hymn chorus: “Trust and obey, For there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.” Soon he had five stanzas to go with the chorus, and he sent them to Towner, who composed the tune that we still sing today.
When I read that story, I thought about the young man whose quiet, spontaneous testimony inspired a hymn that has meant so much to millions of people all over the world. No one knows his name. I seriously doubt that the young man ever knew that his testimony had borne fruit.
I find that encouraging, because it reminds me that God can use every faithful word that we utter and every faithful deed that we do in ways beyond our imagining. I believe that, when we get to heaven, God will show us how much he has done with the little deeds and kindnesses that we have long since forgotten.
“I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey.” I can’t think of a better life-plan than that.
— Copyright 2007, Richard Niell Donovan