Never, No Never, No Never Forsake.

Yesterday morning at church, we were singing one of the grand old hymns of the faith.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

The song was keyed low enough that I was singing an alto harmony. I heard a voice in the row behind me joining in. I didn’t have to look back to know who it was. There is a precious elderly saint in our church who, years ago, sang alto in a local Southern Gospel quartet. When I started attending this church, she was on the worship team.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

She had to step down from the worship team when she came down with Alzheimer’s. The brilliance that made her a high school valedictorian has faded away. Yet she still remembers the old hymns, and on this one at least, the alto part.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of grief shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

Then I realized what I was hearing. She has been called to go through the deep waters. Yet she still sings this song.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

She knows a promise. I say “knows”; whether or not her mind remembers, her heart still knows: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).

That’s why she can sing:

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

I’ll admit, I cried through the last few verses. I don’t know if I sang a word.

But it was just as well, because it meant that I could just listen to her sing. It was one of those moments that I will never forget—unless, of course I am someday called to walk through those same deep waters. But hearing her sing this song reminds me that should that day come, I have the same promise that was made to her: Nothing can pluck one of Jesus’ sheep out of His Father’s hand.

Not even Alzheimer’s.

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26 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. What a beautiful post Daniel! Booth Brothers have a song about this very topic. “She Still Remembers Jesus Name” …beautiful song!

  2. You’re gonna write something like this and then shut down this blog? I’ll accept the idea that you don’t want the obligation of writing a daily post…but please don’t stop writing your experiences like this. I’m not sure anyone could have captured this experience like you have here. I, for one, needed this today. Blessings Daniel!

    • Tell you what: If something this powerful happens again, I’ll write about it somewhere. It may be my personal site (, but wherever it is, yes, I’ll write it. Thank you!

      • I’m with John. I needed this more than anything today .

    • John’s comment captured my thoughts exactly: You’re gonna write something like this and then shut down this blog?! I have to understand that all good things come to an end, but I am going to miss this journal. Like so many others, its been my main source of information on Gospel music, among my very favorite websites of all time. Another sincere THANK YOU for all your efforts to make this blog what it has been to so many of us! God bless you as you move on to other projects!

  3. Thanks for sharing this special moment of your day. All I can say is,’isn’t that just like our God,to allow someone like this lady to still sing His praises?’

  4. Daniel, this is usually one of the first websites I check each morning. Your post today is one of your best. I appreciate your writing and will miss it when it is gone. Thanks!

  5. Well, here towards the end of your awesome tenure, we get a story like this! Amazing! One of the best stories you’ve told, and one of the best posts you’ve ever had! And that is saying something considering the thousands of them! Great job and Thank you!

    • You’re welcome, and thank you. I want to finish strong.

  6. Daniel, thank you for sharing this precious thought about God’s faithfulness not only to our friend, but to all of us. What a reminder to store up heavenly treasures in our seasons of plenty-through song and meditation on His living Word!

  7. Wow. Just wow. (Goosebumps) Thanks for a wonderful post.

    • Wonderful, wonderful post Daniel!! It reminds me of times my former gospel quartet would sing at our local nursing home. Some of the residents in attendance were definitely suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s, but it was amazing to watch them seem to come alive as we sang “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art” and other old hymns. They would join in and sing with us and they knew every word.

  8. Just finished reading this and the timing could not have been more mother is 87years old and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1995. She has not been able to function in any public social capacity since about 2000. She suffered a stroke about six years ago which left her completely bedridden and unresponsive . My dad is 92and still takes on the major responsibility for her care in their home. What I need to explain is that she was blessed by God with a tremendous natural ear for all things related to music. Even though we are from the state of Ohio I grew up with a great appreciation for southern gospel music as both my parents were in volved singing in a southern gospel quartet before I was born and for as long as I can remember. My mother was the pianist and my father the song leader in our church until she could no longer perform those duties,much like the dear lady you have referred to. Life has changed drastically for them and many people have questioned why my dad doesn’t put her in a nursing home but as I’ve told him ,they always worked as a team for The Lord and they still are. How you ask? Well for the past five years they have been blessed with some daily help from hospice. Many of those precious people have marveled at my dads commitment. He simply tells them this is what God has given him to do for this part of his life. They have had countless hospice elopes and volunteers come through the doors of their home. Most who don’t have a personal relationship with The Lord. They will hear Christian music or sermons playing on the radio. Many have asked my dad about his faith which opens the door for him to share the gospel. So as you can see they still work as a team in ministry, my mom just has the easier part and dad does the speaking. By the way she was an alto too!

    • Wow.

    • Carol, thank you for sharing your story. My mother passed away in April 2013 after eight long years of battling Alzheimer’s. As your dad, my father was her sole care giver for all those years with the exception of her last few months. Praise the Lord for faithful Husbands who do what it takes to fullfill there vows to their spouse. The nursing home director couldn’t believe he was her sole care giver considering her condition and violent nature as times. Mom is now walking with her Savior in glory and one day we will be reunited. Through all those hard years I can sill say the God is good and He does all things well. Ps 115:1 was a text the Lord give to me and I found much encouragement in it. “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory. for Your mercy, and for Your truth’s sake.” God has and will use in our lives in ways we could never have thought of. I will pray for you and your family.

  9. Wow, Daniel. What a post! I have been intending to write to say “please tell me it isn’t true that soon you will no longer be writing your blog.” Now I….and obviously so many others….are practically on our knees begging you not to leave us! But, we respect your decision and wish the best of God’s blessings for you. I think John Rulapaugh’s comment nailed it. We will just have to track you down somehow.

  10. Wow… this was an incredible read first-thing this morning.

  11. Beautiful sentiment!

  12. It seems that many of those who have commented on this article have missed the point of a finish line.

    Some seem to think a post this strong should mean Southern Gospel Journal should continue for a longer period. This makes me think of a 25 mile marathon. When the runner reaches the 24 mile mark and is still going strong, who tries to convince him to run to 30?

    Others might see the runner reach mile 24 and say “you might as well coast to the finish.” Yet what runner with the strength to finish strong would limp across the finish line?

    Neither approach rivals a strong, but definite finish.

    • I agree, and thanks so much for the observation. I think marathons are 26.1 miles, or thereabouts. And I am indeed at the 25 mile mark. I don’t want to move the finish line, and I do want to finish strong. 🙂

      • Thank you for the correction on distance. Obviously I’m not overly familiar with marathons. 🙂

      • Say, let’s just extend the metaphor a little further. It would be like running 25 miles, thinking that’s the finish line, only to find out that marathons are 26.1. 😀

      • A marathon is actually 26.2 miles. Does this mean you’ll keep going longer than expected? The finish line just moved…

      • You got me there. Ah, well. 🙂