Hallelujah, Jesus Loves Me

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Audio excerpt: End of verse 1 into chorus
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Lyrics & notes

7 Oct 1976

all my life I've lived alone
they just can't seem to remember my name
I'd live and die—and still I'd be unknown
guess there's really no one else to blame

but then You came into my world
You gave me love I'd never known
You sang me songs I'd never heard
and then You touched me
and made me Your own

Hallelujah, Jesus loves me
Hallelujah, Jesus cares
Hallelujah, Jesus loves me
Hallelujah, praise His name

now I need no place to hide
I know I've found just what I'm looking for
and now I know I've got love on my side
how could anybody ever ask for more?

and since You came You've made me see
that every day holds something new
to think I used to say,
"Love's not for me"
and now I've fallen in love
with You

℗ © Love's Music 1979, assigned to Creative Measures (ASCAP)

1979 Notes:

Some people hear my albums or a concert, come up to me shyly and say, "May I ask you a question?" I answer, "Sure." So they drag me off into a corner and whisper, so that only I can hear, "Are you ever lonely?" It's all I can do to keep from laughing. I usually share with them a saying I learned from Bill Gothard: "Loneliness can be our friend when it forces us to appreciate the friendship of God as much as we appreciate the friendship of others."

And my mind wanders back to a time when I lived by myself in an apartment. It was after a great tour, and I had an awful lot to share. But when I came in and closed the door—it echoed. I sat on the sofa for a long time, just staring at the floor and feeling sorry for myself. But soon I realized that Someone was standing there. The Kind of the universe was standing in my livingroom—waiting for me!

Well, I realized I had, in effect, been saying by my actions—"Lord, You're OK but I'd rather have somebody else to come home to." So I asked Him to forgive me. And I decided that I would sing a concert just for Him—I hardly ever sang just for Him, without an audience. So I turned out the lights, went to the piano and, closing my eyes, began to play. (That's my favorite way to play, although I do make a few more mistakes.)

In my mind I could see Him sitting in the corner, leaning back in the easy chair, smiling at me. He could see through all the subtle little word changes, and yet I knew he loved me—though He alone could truly see what I was. It was the same love that led Him long ago to a lonely cross—for me.
And it is that perfect Love that fills my life and, time after time, drives away my despair.

2007 Notes:

No, I'm not as lonely as often these days. But I've known loneliness. There's no doubt about that. And once you've known it, you never forget how close you are to it. Once you've loved and lost, you always carry around within yourself the knowledge that you could lose again, that you are always perilously close to losing.

I love to drive to work down our country roads, but every now and then I think to myself, when approaching a gravel hauler going 60, just how easy it would be for that truck, or my car, to veer over a few inches. It would only take a second to change everything. I don't mean to be morbid, but it does cross my mind.

At my Dad's memorial service last December, Pastor Jamey quoted the verse in Ecclesiastes about it being better for a young person to attend a funeral than a party (chapter 7, verses 2–6). I guess the point is the same one I was trying to make: that it's always a good thing to remember just how fragile life is.

We had a freakish ice storm a few weeks back. The ice built up on the tree branches a quarter to half an inch. Usually it all melts the next day, but not this time. The trees stayed that way, tops bent over, branches groaning under the shimmering weight, the power lines drooping with icicles, shining white as if someone had pushed an eraser across the sky. The whole world looked like a photographic negative. Everything that was supposed to be black was brilliant white. And it all stayed that way for days. For a week. For almost two. Walking back along our winding driveway after getting the paper one morning, I thought of Damocles. Walking out to get the paper was like walking under the sword of Damocles. A branch, a tree could drop on my head at any moment. One second could change everything.

Every day holds something new. To think I used to say, "Love's not for me." And now I've fallen in love with you.