One Sunday, I finally answered the call. I confessed my sin against God and looked to Jesus Christ as my only hope for salvation. The Lord had called me home as his child. Years before my profession of faith, my grandmother responded to the same call. She had turned from her life of sin and placed her trust in Christ. She remained faithful to her Lord through the years, and when she faced her final stages of life, she had a peace that surpassed understanding (Phil 4:7).
I still remember where I was when I heard the news. My phone rang as I finished my first class session for my spring semester at college. The alarming call came from a family member who informed me my grandmother had passed away, ending her battle with cancer. My heart sank. Too distracted to continue with the school day, I immediately packed up my bag and made the drive home to be with my family so we could grieve together. To keep my mind from racing in the silence on the way home, I turned up the car stereo and listened to music. In the midst of grief, I wanted to find words and hear lyrics that pointed me toward the hope of heaven and provided me with comfort in loss. I found both in Will L. Thompson’s “Softly and Tenderly.”
Even before my grandmother’s passing, the beloved hymn already had impacted my life. I can recall hearing this hymn numerous times throughout my childhood, singing the lyrics many times during our church’s worship services. Each time, the song reminded me of the hope of salvation found only in Jesus Christ.