I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew

I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew

Author: Anonymous (1878)
Songs of Response
Published in 73 hymnals

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1. I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
he moved my soul to seek him, seeking me.
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
no, I was found of thee.

2. Thou didst reach forth thy hand and mine enfold;
I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea.
'Twas not so much that I on thee took hold,
as thou, dear Lord, on me.

3. I find, I walk, I love, but oh, the whole
of love is but my answer, Lord, to thee!
For thou wert long beforehand with my soul;
always thou lovedst me.

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989

Author: Anonymous

In some hymnals, the editors noted that a hymn's author is unknown to them, and so this artificial "person" entry is used to reflect that fact. Obviously, the hymns attributed to "Author Unknown" "Unknown" or "Anonymous" could have been written by many people over a span of many centuries. Go to person page >


Scripture References:
st. 2 = Matt 14:22-23
st. 3 = 1 John 4:10,19, Jer. 31:3

Said by some scholars to have been written in 1878, this anonymous text was published in Holy Songs, Carols, and Sacred Ballads compiled by the Roberts brothers in Boston (1880). Austin Lovelace says of this text: "'He first loved us.' This simple yet profound thought is the basis for the hymn. God loved us long before we knew it. We seek God, but already God is holding out a hand waiting for us to take hold of it and be rescued from the seas of life" (Lovelace, Hymn Notes).

Stanza 2 alludes to the scene in which Christ saves Peter from drowning (see Matt. 14:22-33).

Liturgical Use:
See PHH 496 and PHH 497.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew. [He first loved us.] An anonymous and undated hymn in The Pilgrim Hymnal 1904.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)



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The Cyber Hymnal #3066
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The United Methodist Hymnal #341
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Instances (1 - 14 of 14)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Common Praise (1998) #547
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #689Text
Hymnal: A Worship Book #506
Hymns of the Saints: Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints #213
Hymns to the Living God #221TextPage Scan
Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #685TextFlexscoreAudio
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #498Text InfoTune InfoTextAudioPage Scan
Rejoice in the Lord #162TextPage Scan
Small Church Music #366Audio
The Cyber Hymnal #3066TextScoreAudio
The United Methodist Hymnal #341TextFlexscoreAudio
The Worshiping Church #440Page Scan
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #466TextPage Scan
Worship (3rd ed.) #593Text
Include 59 pre-1979 instances
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