Samuel Medley was a Baptist minister who lived over two hundred years ago. His testimony of Jesus lives on in his many hymns including “I Know That My Redeemer Lives“. (Click the link to listen to a beautiful rendition by Lexi Walker and Lindsey Stirling).
One day I decided to learn more about the man behind the hymn. I’ve summarized what I learned in the poem below.
I am grateful for his testimony.
Recently I shared the poem in a newsletter so thought I would share it here also. (This poem is from my collection Grace in Their Hearts).
Reflections of Samuel Medley, Baptist preacher, Liverpool in 1799
In my younger years I realized
that Christianity was important
to my father and grandfather.
They knew that their Redeemer lived.
I, on the other hand, didn’t give my faith
much thought—I was too busy
dreaming of becoming an Admiral.
My vessel was engaged in battle
And I was wounded
and sent to Grandfather’s to recover.
It was then I faced another trial—
my Grandfather’s well-meaning
sermon reading, of a Sabbath,
at my sick bed.
“Grandfather has gone to church, right?”
I asked the servant who came with my breakfast.
The servant assured me he had—
and I relaxed into daydreams
of what I would accomplish
In my journey to became Admiral.
“How are you, dear boy?”
It was Grandfather—not at church—
Sermon in hand,
benevolent look in his eye,
I tried not to shudder.
“I thought you would enjoy
this lovely sermon by Isaac Watts.
It’s from Isaiah.”
I’m not sure why but for some reason
Watt’s words reached my fickle heart.
Suddenly I was seeing what Grandfather saw—
that Christianity was not just a social garment
worn by Polite society—
that, indeed, my Redeemer lived!
My ambition changed from
becoming an Admiral
to becoming a minister for our Lord.
I served him many years,
teaching, visiting, writing hymns.
I can truly say: I know that my Redeemer lives!
But more than that,
as old age and illness steal away
my strength, energy and vitality,
I say firmly: He not only lives, but is the same!
“The same his everlasting love,
The same the promise of his word,
The same his cov’nant from above,
The same the mercy of the LORD.”
My friends, whoever you may be,
may I assure you that,
as sure as my name is Samuel Medley,
the foundation of God standeth sure;
and He is faithful who has promised…
Does a family member or friend need the Spirit in their life? Try praying for them and reading to them as Samuel Medley’s godly grandfather did. It was not the words read but the Holy Spirit who carried them to Samuel Medley’s heart. The Spirit can do the same for your family members and friends!