American evangelist Billy Graham put his trust in the saving work of Jesus Christ in 1934 at a rival meeting. As he responded to the altar call, someone sang Just As I Am, Without One Plea, and the hymn with words by Englishwoman Charlotte Elliott and melody by William Bradbury was forever etched on his memory.
When he began his own series of crusades to share the good news of salvation in Jesus, he chose Just As I Am to accompany each altar call. George Beverly Shea, a hymn writer in his own right and a dear friend of Graham, would often sing it.
I myself remember sitting in a stadium in Portland in 1992 as a choir of voices sang the hymn at the close of a Graham crusade. The memory is sweet, and the story behind Elliott’s lyrics reminds me that we must all wrestle at some point in our lives to understand who we are in Christ.
Elliott, who was weak and feeble in body throughout her long life, penned the song in 1835 as she wrestled with doubt and sought to remind herself of the gospel, of pardon, of peace, and of eternity with the Lord. As she wrote, she became forever rooted in the “Rock beneath her feet” and saw herself as the beloved of God. May this song remind you of that Rock, the One who calls you beloved just as you are.
It is a privilege to share with you an arrangement of Just As I Am by local pianist, composer and recording artist David Nevue from his album Adoration: Solo Piano Hymns. He says on his website at www.davidnevue.com, “I am a seeker — seeking after my God, striving to serve Him, to understand His ways and His Word. My music is a soundtrack for that journey.” David has graciously granted us permission to share more of his music with you as we journey through the Gospel of John, and we know you will be blessed.