Carl Boberg, a 26-year-old Swedish minister, wrote a poem in 1885 which he called "O Store Gud"––"O Mighty God." The words of the poem, literally translated into English, said:
When I the world consider / Which Thou hast made by Thine almighty Word
And how the webb of life Thou wisdom guideth / And all creation feedeth at Thy board.
Then doth my soul burst forth in song of praise / Oh, great God, Oh, great God!
Carol Boberg's poem was published and forgotten––or so he thought.
Several years later, he was surprised to hear it being sung to the tune of an old Swedish melody; but the poem and hymn did not achieve widespread fame.
Hearing this hymn in Russia, English missionary, Stuart Hine, was so moved he modified and expanded the words and made his own arrangement of the Swedish melody. He later said his first three verses were inspired, line upon line, by Russia's rugged Carpathian Mountains. The first verse was composed when he was caught in a thunderstorm in a Carpathian village, the second as he heard the birds sing near the Romanian border, and the third as he witnessed many of the Carpathian mountain-dwellers coming to Christ. The final verse was written after Dr. Hine returned to Great Britain.
Some time later, Dr. J. Edwin Orr heard "How Great Thou Art" being sung by Naga Tribespeople in Assam, in India, and decided to bring it back to America for use in his own meetings. And I'm so glad he did.
My daughter sent me this link last night, and I was so excited because I missed this performance when it was on TV the other night. But my Dad saw it and raved about how fabulous it was! And oh…he wasn't kidding!
As Your Word says in Isaiah 45:18, "I am the Lord, and there is no other." Truly Lord, how great Thou art! And thank you, Father, for gifting musicians like Vince Gill and Carrie Underwood and others to praise You in song and for giving us a taste of heaven while here on earth.
One last note, I'm taking my dad to the neurologist this morning. He's been suffering from repeated migraines and we're praying the doctor can shed some light on the cause––and provide some relief. I'd appreciate your prayers for that too.
P.S. Much of this information was gleaned from a wonderful book entitled Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan. It contains the stories of 150 of the world's greatest hymns. Highly recommended!