In 1942, Robert Emmett Winsett wrote a song entitled “Jesus is Coming Soon.” (You can click on the link to hear the Oakridge Boys 2005 version of the song from their album “Common Thread.”) The song won a Dove award at the first GMA Dove Awards in 1969 for Gospel Song of the Year. Since then, it has become a standard for southern gospel musicians.
In an effort to understand the cause for writing the song, I researched it a bit. The results were interesting to say the least but I found nothing to indicate Winsett’s motivation in penning the lyrics to this song.
I first sang this song in church in the early 1990’s. I was terrified. The late 80’s and early 90’s were the stage for much unrest in the Middle East including Desert Storm, the Gulf War, the invasion of Kuwait and conflict between Iran and Iraq. Not knowing the origin of the song, I assumed someone had written it as a reflection of the current times (of 1990’s). I was wrong.
Considering the events of 1942 with the Great Depression ending in 1933 and fading from memory while at the same time being smack in the middle of World War II, the lyrics seem to accurately portray the feeling of the day. To be honest, they were accurate in 1990 and they are accurate today.
As I consider this song, the current cultural milieu, a pandemic, political unrest and social ills, I keep hearing the words “encourage one another…” A simple search revealed these results…
So encourage each other with these words.1 Thessalonians 4:18
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. Encourage those who are timid.1 Thessalonians 5:11,14
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.Hebrews 10:24-25
First Thessalonians 4 reminds us to encourage one another with words. Words that remind us Jesus is still coming. He hasn’t been here. We didn’t miss it. If the words I say do not move others to courage, if they do not build others up, if they do not motivate to love and good deeds, I need to be silent. There are so many voices shouting, fighting to be heard that discourage and terrify. I don’t want to be one more.
Which voices encourage, build up or motivate you? Which voices discourage, terrify or dismay you? What do you do when doubt, fear, timidity, hopelessness or unrest come crowding in?