top of page
  • Writer's pictureDr. Roger D Duke



The Story Behind the Hymn

Proverbs 13: 12 declares, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” This might be a metaphor or life-verse for the author of this poem-hymn—Adelaide A. Pollard. For God uses all manner of setbacks, detours, and even roadblocks to get us on to His “Celestial City.” (See Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress.) God uses all the hardships in our lives to focus our aim and goal on Him, and to enable us to trust Him more.

So, it was with Ms. Pollard! After she graduated from the Boston School of Oratory (later Emerson College), she moved to Chicago. Adelaide hoped to teach at a girl’s school there. In her frail health she was drawn to the Scottish-born faith healer John Alexander Dowie. He thought himself to be the Elijah who would proceed Christ’s return to earth. Dowie went outside Chicago and bought a 6,800-acre parcel of land and began building his new “Zion City.” But it turned out to be a flop! But, in the encounter Adelaide was healed of her diabetes. [1]

Her next spiritual encounter was with one evangelist named Sanford. He too was known for predicting the end of the world! Christ would return any moment he proclaimed. She moved to New England and endeavored to aid him in his work. All the while, she felt that God had called her to be a missionary to Africa. But that door as well; for she was unable to raise her own financial support. She, now in her forties, happened to attend a prayer meeting. During the service she heard a woman pray: “It doesn’t matter what you bring into our lives, Lord, Just have your own way with us.” [2]

This prayer-confession captivated Ms. Pollard’s heart. When she rushed home the Bible story of the potter and clay from the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah 18 flooded her mind. By bed-time, she had written out the lyrics found below. She was eventually allowed to go to Africa, but when World War I broke out she was forced to Scotland and then America to minister. For the rest of her life she continued to write, to speak, and to minister. [3]

“In the middle of December 1934, Adelaide, seventy-two, purchased a ticket at New York’s Penn Station. She was heading for Pennsylvania for a speaking engagement. While waiting for the train, she was stricken with a seizure and shortly thereafter died.” [4]

Now you know story behind the hymn. To God be the Glory!

Stanza One:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the Potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Stanza Two:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Search me and try me, Master, today! Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now, As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Stanza Three:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Wounded and weary, help me, I pray! Power, all power, surely is Thine! Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Stanza Four:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Hold o’er my being absolute sway! Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me.

Internet source for the hymn’s lyrics:

[1] Robert J. Morgan, Then Sings My Soul: 150 Christmas, Easter, and All-Time Favorite Hymn Stories (W Publishing Group-An Imprint of Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2010), 230-231. [2] Ibid. [3] Ibid. [4] Ibid.

184 views0 comments


bottom of page