VICTORY IN JESUS
It’s a song we have sung for as long as I can remember, yet I don’t think I ever really paid attention to the lyrics until now. When I began to look for another song feature this one came to mind. You see, I have a dear friend who has a teaching ministry called Bringing to Light. She opens each broadcast with the words, Today is your day for Victory In Jesus! She recently shared with me some good news that she and her husband were going to attend a retreat at Cove in Asheville, NC. I had been telling her all the wonderful things about the Cove and the encounter I had with the Lord when I visited the Chapel there. Just knowing what they will experience and seeing all the beauty on the ground at this event excited me. As I thought about what song to write about and her good news the words from her program echoed in my mind, Victory In Jesus, so I choose to look into why the song was written. I was surprised and inspired by the story behind the song and now have a new appreciation for it.
To understand the significance of the song and why those words hold such a powerful meaning, you will have to know a little bit about the author of the song, Eugene M. Bartlett Sr. Born in 1885 in Missouri he became a singer, music publisher, producer and of course a songwriter. Mr. Bartlett began his career as a publisher for the Central Music Company in Arkansas and later formed the Hartford Music Company in 1918 with a few friends. There he would publish his hymnals, periodicals, and magazines. Over time he became an profound songwriter, writing such songs as “Everybody Will Be Happy Over There”, “Just A Little While”, and “He Will Remember Me”, and he even had success in the country music field with a song by Little Jimmy Dickens called, “Take a Old Cold Tater and Wait”. I’ll trust that was a #1 hit.
Life could not have been better for Eugene. He married his sweetheart in 1917 and they raised 2 children. As a publisher his hymn book was in demand, selling over 15,000 copies across the county. He felt his calling was to publish hymns and teach aspiring singers how to sight-read so he traveled the south, holding singing school and singing conventions.
But in 1939 at age 53, his world changed drastically. Mr. Bartlett suffered a paralyzing stroke that left him unable to walk or even speak and for the most part, he was bedridden. Many felt the stroke ended his teaching ministry, yet It was during these dark days that Eugene would write his best-known hymn, Victory In Jesus. While looking back over his life he began to think back to the night he was born again and the rich life he had since that night. He picked up a pen and began what would become his best-known song. He began with the following words, “I heard an old, old story, How a Savior came from glory, how he gave his life on Calvary to save a wretch like me”. Realizing that the love of God had sustained him and brought him to where he was that day, he is quoted as saying he felt the prompting of the holy spirit to add another verse. He wrote, “I heard about his healing, of his saving power revealing, how he made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see”. When he completed the song, he looked back over it and seen it was a story of redeeming power from start to finish. He wanted the song to be joyous. And while written during the darkest period of his life he chose to make the melody full of happiness and enthusiasm.
Since he was no longer able to travel to minister or teach his son, Eugene Jr took over. He would travel around the south continuing his father’s ministry. One night, as the story goes, he had traveled to East Tx for a revival service. He had asked a well-known evangelist of the time to speak. The man did and gave a wonderful sermon but when the invitation was given no one came forward. Eugene, Jr. said he felt the Lord urging him to sing his Father’s new song which he had not sung publicly before. He did and as he sang many in attendance began to come forward to give their life to the Lord Jesus. At the end of the service over 50 men and women had accepted Christ as their savior.
I’m sure that during his time of suffering there were days where he felt depressed, alone and sad, yet he still found the inspiration to declare, “I cried, Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit and somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory’’. It’s amazing to me, that in the midst of all that was wrong in his life he found the courage to proclaim Jesus and the Victory he had in knowing Jesus was the answer and source of his joy. So often when we are going through a dark time in life we get focused on the problem or our circumstances and lose sight of what really matters, we lose our hope and our joy. But in midst of Eugene’s troubles, he found he could say there is Victory in Jesus, as we all should do. Mr. Bartlett, Sr passed away in 1941 from complications due to the stroke.
If there is one thing I want you to remember, it’s this. It is because of God’s Grace and Mercy each of us are where we are today and no matter what we face in life we can walk in Victory. We just have to choose to live for him.
This is how we sung Victory of Jesus in the church I grew up. From the Metro Atlanta Singing Convention.
9 thoughts on “Victory In Jesus”
This song is magnificent! nobody ever sings songs like this in church anymore.
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I don’t know if anyone reads this anymore but I needed this. I’ve had this song stuck in my head all day, although I’ve not heard it since I was a little girl, as I grew up in church (I am a born again Christian). My brother tragically passed away in a motorcycle crash 3 months ago. He was 34. It’s been the most devestating loss of my life, including my loss of hope and joy. But with this victory, I can sing through the devestation. Thank you.
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I am so sorry for your loss. I appreciate you taking the time to share your comment with me.
God bless you Dear sister in the Lord I pray for you and your family. This is a song I sang as a teenage my mother sang it in our home. Andrew Goodwin Hungry
So sorry for your loss, thanks for sharing may God continue to bless and provide for you
I’m so sorry for your loss Sara Beth. Have you heard Carrie Underwood’s new version of Victory in Jesus? It really does help spark joy through Him. Lifting you up in prayer tonight.
I hear many say to those afflicted in some physical way “You got this” They mean well hoping to encourage, but the message in those words is “They don’t need God” It’s by their power leaving God out. Some say “God helps those who help themselves” It’s not Biblical God did not say such and making that claim is adding to the Word of God. I’m most certain not one person would want someone to say of them that they said such and such and I most certain God is not going to bless those who falsely claim “God said” when He did not. Claiming that “God helps those who help themselves” those words contradict itself they leave God out for they help themselves. Our Victory is in and of the Lord,Christ Yeshua.
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As a young 16 year old new-born Christian boy I lived with strangers in Nebraska, who were pastor & pastor’s wife of a small town church. Emily used to be busy about her home, taking care of the things that she knew were important, and as she did I could hear this song on her lips, “A Victory, in Jesus, my Savior… Forever…”
It is Masonic to say “God helps those who help themselves” because they believe they are their own gods, so of course if they help themselves it’s “god” helping them, right? We who believe know otherwise, that God is the Almighty, the Omnipotent, the great “I AM”, which interestingly is “Je Suis” in French.