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Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.

Joseph Henry Gilmore

He Leadeth Me

“He leadeth me! O blessed thought!” this hymn begins. “O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!” Such a reassuring thought, that the almighty God is the one who leads us. But then the song goes on to describe our pathway. It isn’t always lined with sunflowers — sometimes we must walk through the deepest gloom.


Joseph Gilmore wrote this song during the “darkest hour of the Civil War,” in his own words. He was preaching through the 23rd Psalm one morning, and couldn’t get farther than the phrase, “He leadeth me.” It struck him in a new way, and after the service, he penned this song, little realizing his wife would send it to a paper in Boston, and it would be put to music . . . and sung in churches across the country nearly 150 years after the end of that dreadful conflict. The war was over, and his song had endured.


On that day, things were still dark. Yet Mr. Gilmore could say, “It makes no difference how we are led, or wither we are led, so long as we are sure God is leading us.” There is a peace in knowing that, isn’t there? Our path may seem bleak at times, but we can know our guide is trustworthy.

   Songs for the Soul