by Mrs. Lori B.
from Virtuous Daughters, June 2010~Volume 10, Number 3
“In the Garden”
I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear the Son of God discloses.
(Refrain) And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice, is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me within my heart is ringing.
I’d stay in the garden with Him though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe His voice to me is calling.
(words and music by C. Austin Miles, 1868–1946)
This song is so sweet to me, as it is one of the first ones we sang at the nursing home where we began ministering together as a family, years ago. The tune is a familiar one to the older folks and they would hum along, even if they didn’t know the words or their eyes were too dim to read the home-made large-type hymnals that we had made.
I looked it up in our well-worn copy of 101 Hymn Stories and found out some interesting background facts about this “garden hymn.” First, it is based on John 20, the author’s favorite chapter in the Bible. It is when Mary comes to the garden after Jesus has died and has been buried. The tomb is empty, but Christ then appears to her. She knows it is Him and “Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things unto her.” John 20:18
Second, the author was asked to write a hymn text that would be “sympathetic in tone, breathing tenderness in every line: one that would bring hope to the hopeless, rest for the weary, and downy pillows to dying beds.” This, I believe, was accomplished each time we sang it at the nursing home. Just look at the sweet words . . . can you not picture the dew still on the roses, in the early morning light? Can you not imagine the voice of your dear Saviour telling you that you are His own? Is that not a precious thought to dwell upon? And the joy you’d share as you lingered by His side . . . How wonderfully refreshing! Even the birds would hush their singing to hear the sound of their Creator’s voice! Would you not, like the author, desire to stay in the garden with Him, even though the night was falling? Does it not make you want to listen to His voice, when it is calling to you?
I believe that a garden is a place to be close to our Savior, the Creator, Who made each individual flower, so perfect, so unique . . . Who made the insects to help pollinate them, the seeds to make them grow the next year, the root systems, the photosynthesis process so that they can make food from sunlight. Is it not an incredible place to linger and dwell on the beauty and superiority of our own Creator and Father? When I think of the variety of vegetables, of vines, and tubers and root vegetables, of fruit trees and the bounty that comes from the earth each harvest, how could anyone doubt God’s love for His people? For just a little bit of effort in the springtime, we can bring forth an abundance of goodness, in the form of our own food.
The next time you are in your own garden (or someone else’s, if you don’t garden, YET), take the time to really reflect on His generosity to us, in giving us the produce, or the beauty of a growing plant. Sit there, and hum or sing softly to yourself, the words of this old sweet hymn written in 1912, ponder in your mind the old Billy Sunday revival campaigns where this was a popular hymn each night as souls went forward to meet their Lord’s voice calling to them. And heed the sound of your own dear Saviour’s voice.
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