Old Song … Still True

My paternal grandfather loved life and loved life’s author even more. His was a quick and ready wit, his laughter bubbled over without much forewarning. He derived great joy from helping people learn their way around the Scriptures, teaching them to feed themselves and live so as to bring delight to the Savior.

One of Grandpa’s favorite songs was a gentle and contemplative one, “My God and I”. I remember hearing him hum it quietly out in the yard when we were over at their house, and especially remember trying to sing along with him sitting between Grandpa and Dad on the way up the Colorado Rockies to go stream fishing. He and Dad sang it duet-style that day, the kid with a buzz-cut between them trying to match words now and then and harmonize a little bit. Why do I remember that scene? I don’t know. It’s just one of those little memory video clips tucked away that I enjoy now and then. The song came to mind on my walk this morning, so I’ve been reminiscing a little.

Grandpa Ransom didn’t always get along well with God or His people. An aggressive, driven ranch foreman on the central plains of Nebraska, he had no use for spirituality, the Bible, God, or people who found them important. They were weaklings and he wanted nothing to do with them. At one point he warned his wife that if he ever caught the preacher on their property he’d wish he hadn’t. But Heaven had plans for him he didn’t know about. God reached him. He drew Ray to himself, won his heart and the callused ranch foreman said “yes” to the Savior. Things changed at home, and his appetite for the Word of God grew to insatiable. Eventually the day came when he kissed his wife and children good-bye and headed to Chicago and Moody Bible Institute to study formally. He studied hard and took copious notes; I have some of them in my library.

But he wasn’t allowed to finish. In truth, he barely got started by today’s standards. God needed him there just long enough for him to learn how to study the Word.  He was only there a quarter before being beckoned to return and lead the little country church at home. Ray left the city and returned to the flock that was now his.  For the rest of his ministry life he and his professors had class at his desk in the study, their printed lectures and commentary his instruction. He delved into the word of God, walked and talked with God, and shared the best of what he learned with the people in his care as pastor, Bible teacher, encourager and mentor to many.

In November, 1979 Grandpa was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Six months later the Lord whispered that his place in Glory was ready and in May of 1980 he moved home again, this time to the place his Lord prepared for him.

So I’m remembering today – they’re great memories.

I’m following the example of one who went before me – and it’s a good example.

I’m smiling today knowing that the same God who was Grandpa’s friend is my friend too. And He doesn’t change. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever, and that brings me great hope and confidence.

Grandpa’s laughter came quickly, Dad’s did, mine does too.

His love of the Word was contagious, as was Dad’s, and I see evidence around me that mine is too.

Grandpa was devoted to shepherding God’s people, Dad was, as am I.

Lots of things about life are carrying down; good things I want to pass on to my kids and grand-kids. Among them is a friend-with-God approach to life. (See John 15.9-17 for Jesus’ perspective on our being His friends.)

Here’s the song. If you like the text you may need to find an old hymnal in your church library so you can plunk out the tune. Don’t play it too fast, OK? The walk mentioned in the opening lines wasn’t an aerobic walk at all. It was the kind of walk friends enjoy in the calm of the day to quiet the soul and enjoy the fellowship. Enjoy —

My God And I

My God and I go in the field together;
We walk and talk as good friends should and do;
We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter;
My God and I walk through the meadow’s hue.
We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter;
My God and I walk through the meadow’s hue.

He tells me of the years that went before me
When heavenly plans were made for me to be;
When all was but a dream of dim reflection;
To come to life, earth’s verdant glory see.
When all was but a dream of dim reflection;
To come to life, earth’s verdant glory see.

My God and I will go for aye together,
We’ll walk and talk just as good friends do;
This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,
But God and I will go unendingly.
This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,
But God and I will go unendingly.


14 Replies to “Old Song … Still True”

  1. Jonell

    Phil,

    Excellent thoughts! I love the history. Thanks for sharing how God used memories of Dad and Grandpa to encourage you.

    I liked these lines that you wrote: “I’m smiling today knowing that the same God who was Grandpa’s friend is my friend too. And He doesn’t change. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever, and that brings me great hope and confidence.”

    ~ Jonell

    • Gerry Verhoef

      The words to this song was on my mind as I walked this morning and I couldn’t get all the words just right so I googled what I remembered and your website was the first on the list with your comments and the words of that great hymn was just what I needed for today.

      • Phil

        I’m so glad The Lord used these lyrics and the associated comments to encourage you, Gerry – thanks for saying so. Vibrance is here primarily to encourage people, and I’m thrilled that it did just that for you when you came in off your walk.

        It’s kinda cool that Google found Vibrance first in your search too, nice to know that I’m putting my key words in the right place as I write. 😀

        Have a great day today!

        Phil —

  2. Janet Smith

    Thanks for posting this song. I had been looking for the rest of the words for sometime. I just remembered the first verse and part of the first line of the second. It kept going through my mind and I tried and tried to remember the rest of it. I learned it many years ago at church camp in the hills of western Md. about a mile from camp David where the President goes to rest. Thanks again! Janet

  3. Phil

    You’re welcome, Janet. Some songs are simply timeless, aren’t they?
    Enjoy meditating on the sweet relationship God wants us to enjoy with Him.

    Phil—

  4. SLW

    This song, “My God And I,” may be found in the Living Hymns hymnal page 322. The name of the author and composer is I. B. Sergei. In brackets under the name is Austris A. Withol. A note at the bottom of this page gives the Copyright 1935, renewed 1963 by A. A. Withol, assigned to Singspiration, Inc.

    I haven’t found any information on I. B. Sergei. This link will take you to a site where the music to “My God And I” can be found as well as other good music, at least according to my taste.

    http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/5761/midi.html

  5. Jonell

    Thanks! I looked up my copy of that song on Sunday night, but thought I had better look into the two names, Sergei and Withol before I posted anything! Thanks for your work on that end to clarify things.

    Authorship of a song is an interesting thing isn’t it?

    Jonell

  6. Dave Tjart

    Thanks, Phil, for the story of Ray Ransom and his ministry. This song has been a part of my heritage for over 60 years–I first sang it in German, in a Mennonite church in Ontario, and I have often used it in my hospital visitation. Lots and lots of old-timers seem to know it, and appreciate it.

    Dave

  7. Dolores Schilt

    Wow! I hadn’t thought of that song in years! Love it! What a precious heritage you have – I know you treasure it. Thanks for sharing it.

  8. Rebecca

    I came upon your website because I was looking for information about this song “My God and I”. I was cleaning out a bookcase and came upon a story printed about the author of this song. I think I aquired it from a garage sale where I purchased a bunch of old music. In the story he tells of his inspiration for writing the song coming from a run-away orphan girl. It is quite a story and I would be glad to share it. I could not find it on-line at all.

  9. Phil

    Hi Rebecca,

    I would welcome your re-telling that story here as part of this thread. Please be sure to include credit if it’s from a published source.

    Glad you enjoyed this entry!

    Phil —

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