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HYMN FOR PENTECOST 17 God Will Take Care of You

Text: Civilla Martin (1866-1948); Tune: Stillman Martin (1862-1935)

Parable of the workers in the vineyard Jacob Willemszoon de Wet, mid-17th century

1 Be not dismayed whate’er betide,

God will take care of you;

Beneath his wings of love abide,

God will take care of you.

R/ God will take care of you,

Through ev'ry day,

O’er all the way;

He will take care of you,

God will take care of you.

2 Through days of toil when heart does fail,

God will take care of you;

When dangers fierce your path assail,

God will take care of you.


3 All you may need he will provide,

God will take care of you;

Nothing you ask will be denied,

God will take care of you.


4 No matter what may be the test,

God will take care of you;

Lean, weary one, upon his breast,

God will take care of you.



It is a dark day in late November, 1924, on a farm near Starbuck, Minnesota. In the gloomy light, a mother is singing to her five-year old daughter. “Be not dismayed, whate’er betide, God will take care of you.” The little girl looks up at her mother who is heavily pregnant. She does not know that her mother is suffering pre-eclampsia. She just feels the warmth in her mother’s rich mezzo, and the dancing reflections the fire in the pot bellied stove makes through the panes of isinglass.

My grandma Anda with my mother Jonette

Two days later she will come down into the bedroom and find her father rocking her little sister, holding her close and weeping, her mother’s dead body in the bed beside them, with a newborn baby boy taking his last breaths. The song is nearly all she has to remember from her mother. But she will never forget it. It comes back to her many, many times as a message from her mother. And when the little girl becomes a mother and faces the danger of an operation that could leave her own five-year old daughter motherless, she sings it to her.

This was my mother Jonette and her mother, Anda. Anda and my grandfather, Theodore, had been married in March of 1918, just as the Spanish flu was beginning its devastation. As the couple began farming on the western edge of Cyrus, Minnesota, the world around them was hurtling toward chaos. The First World War was raging and American soldiers were fighting in the trenches. The pandemic had been gathering strength through the summer and into October when Minnesotans began coming down with the flu. Doctors in the Twin Cities advised shutting down schools and banning public gatherings but civic leaders were slow to do so. Things finally got so bad, normal life almost collapsed. Much of life was put on hold, schools, church services and sporting events, canceled, etc. Over 10,000 Minnesotans died of the flu from October 1918 to the end of 1919. Estimates are that from 50 to 100 million people died from the pandemic, a large portion in the second wave, the fall of 1918.

During these months, my grandmother was pregnant with my mother. Research today says that many children in utero at the time of the flu tended to be more anxious during their lifetimes. Anxiety was without doubt one of my mother’s besetting issues. As a little girl she would wash her hands over and over again until they bled. She remained anxious about things throughout her life. Only her deep faith and outrageous sense of humor kept her on keel, most of the time. Her mother’s song continued to comfort her for the rest of her life, as she sang it to us and told this story.

One of the nice things about the hymn is that it is sung to someone else. It preached to the little one and every who hears it. This hymn was recommended for this Sunday. How it fits with Matthew 20, I am not sure, except that we all receive the same care from our Lord as the other, even in our days of toil. God's gift to us is equal for each of us, no more or less. He will take care of you, no matter what the test! (this is a slight revision of a previous blog.)


Civilla Martin

The hymn was written in 1904 after a little boy told his mother, Civilla Martin, who was ill and who served as an evangelist with her husband, that God would take care of her while her husband was preaching at a meeting. When her husband got home, she felt much better, so she wrote the hymn text. Not long after this, her husband composed this tune for her text. It is a very simple text and tune, one that children can easily understand.

Today the hymn is speaking in its great simplicity to millions. Its direct message should be shared with the children you know. They need to hear its direct proclamation. They will remember it and sing it, and sing it to their children. We all need to hear this promise over and over.


Fountainview Academy you can sing along with them

Ella Fitzgerald

Heritage Singers

This hymn from my hymns on the lectionary texts from Matthew does deal with the text in Matthew.

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