It’s surprising to me sometimes how favorite old hymns originated – and the lives of those who wrote them.
Adelaide Pollard was born during the Civil War in Iowa. Her given name by her parents was Sarah, but she liked the name Adelaide better. So, when she became old enough, she changed her name to Adelaide.
Adelaide went to Chicago to teach in a girls’ school after attending Boston School of Oratory (Emerson College).
While she struggled with frailty, health-wise, she met John Alexander Dowie, a Scottish-born faith healer who had a rather strange ministry. Dowie claimed to be Elijah who would precede the Coming of Christ.
Uhh…didn’t John the Baptist already do that? Didn’t Jesus say he was Elijah returned? Yes…
And if you are willing to acept what I say, he is Elijah,
the one the prophets said would come.
Dowie bought 6,800 acres near Chicago and started building “Zion City”, which ended in failure. Adelaide supposedly was healed of diabetes through Dowie’s ministry, failure or not.
Adelaide later joined in the ministry of Sanford, an evangelist who predicted the imminent return of Christ. She moved to New England to assist Sanford, and it was there (in her 40’s) that she felt God calling her to minister in Africa. But, she was unable to raise the financial support and became heartsick with disappointment. Adelaide attended a prayer meeting where she met an elderly woman who prayed for her.
It doesn’t matter what you bring into our lives, Lord. Just have your own way with us.
The prayer’s closing phrase pierced Adelaide’s heart so much that she started formulating “Have Thine Own Way, Lord” in her head. She went home that evening and studied Jeremiah’s story of the potter and the clay in chapter 18.
Before bed that night, she wrote out a prayer that later became the hymn.
Did Adelaide ever make it to Africa? Yes, she did…eventually. As best, it was God’s timing.
But she didn’t stay. World War I broke out, sending her to Scotland and then back to America later. She wrote poems there, spoke to groups, and ministered freely.
At 72, Adelaide purchased a train ticket at New York’s Penn Station for a speaking engagement in Pennsylvania. While awaiting her boarding at the station, Adelaide had a seizure and died shortly thereafter. The Lord had His way. She’d lived a long, fulfilling life.
Isn’t that a neat story? I love learning about people’s lives, don’t you? Truth is often much more interesting than fiction!
Have a spectacular Sunday, y’all!