Go Tell It on the Mountain: Day 9

In the Garden


Today's Text: Psalm 5:1-3, Matthew 26:36-46, John 10:25-30, Hebrews 10:19-25, James 4:8

Scripture Reading: Psalm 5:1-3, Matthew 26:36-46, John 10:25-30, Hebrews 10:19-25, James 4:8

C. Austin Miles was a pharmacist by trade, but the darkroom was home to his truer loves: photography and Bible-reading. He’d sit and read Scripture while waiting for film to develop, his well-worn Bible illuminated by the room’s familiar glow.

On such a day in March 1912, Miles began to process his photos, then opened his Bible to John chapter 20 as he waited. He’d read the passage before; it was one of his favorites. But this time, the scene seemed to come alive. He found himself imagining he was face to face with Jesus as He spoke to Mary near the empty garden tomb.

Of the experience Miles wrote, “I awakened in full light, gripping the Bible, with muscles tense and nerves vibrating. Under the inspiration of this vision, I wrote as quickly as the words could be formed the poem exactly as it appeared. That same evening I wrote the music.”

In addition to his photos, Miles had developed a reputation as a music director at conventions, churches, camp meetings, and the like. Not long before that March inspiration, a music publisher named Adam Geibel had asked Miles to compose a specific type of hymn—one that was sympathetic and tender, “one that would bring hope to the hopeless, rest for the weary, and downy pillows to dying beds.”14 With the Holy Spirit’s help, a “downy pillow” for the soul is just what he delivered.

We all come to the garden alone, but our suffering Savior meets us there. He tells us what is true: we are His own.

In the Garden
by C. Austin Miles

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing;
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Tho’ the night around me be falling;
But He bids me go; thro’ the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.



Morgan, Robert J. Then Sings my Soul. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011.

Osbeck, Kenneth W. 101 Hymn Stories: The Inspiring Stories Behind 101 Favorite Hymns. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2012.

  • This song was played at my grandma’s funeral 20 years ago. Now my mom is living with me and on hospice. She’s requested that my husband and daughter sing it at her memorial service. I appreciate the scripture connection from the devotional as well as the insight to the song. It does provide some comfort in this time as we walk steadily towards Heaven with my mom.

  • Jessi Mickey

    I have sung this hymn so many times in my life. It was my grandmothers favorite hymn. She passed away from cancer when I was young. We played this at her funeral per her request. To this day my family loves this song and always thinks of my grandmother meeting our Savior with no more suffering.
    Thank you for the background on this beautiful hymn!

    • Lora

      This was also my Grandmother’s favorite hymn. I always think of her and her strong faith when I hear it. I was fortunate to have her in my life until I was in my 20’s. Thanks for sharing the memory of your grandmother and the reminder that their suffering has ended and their joy has begun!

  • Atalie Jones

    “We all come to the garden alone, but our suffering Savior meets us there. He tells us what is true: we are His own.”

    Thank You, Father!! Ingrain these words on my heart and in my mind. Remind me that I am Yours no matter what. I am not condemned.

    • Becky Smith

      Dear Atalie,
      You are so right –
      We are not condemned! Romans 8:1 assures us as children of God that “there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus “. Such a wonderful truth.

  • Leenda324

    I so love this beautiful hymn. Like Cate, since I was little.

  • This has been one of my favorite hymns since I was little. It was actually the first one I learned, so I hold it dear to my heart. Beautiful. <3

  • Has SRT included any African-American spirituals in this study? I feel like it is important to remember that Christ’s kingdom is diverse: every tribe, tongue, nation, language, ethnicity! Let’s not forget that this time period that SRT has chosen was during segregation, and that churches were filled with white people singing these songs even though it was very common during this day for white Christians to justify segregation as part of God’s will.

    Faith in our strong, powerful, Redeemer, Jesus Christ, kept our brothers and sisters going during this time, as is does today. I have so much to learn from them.

    • Kristin

      I find your comment enlightening and thought-provoking and I too would like to learn of the story and context of hymns and spirituals written by composers of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. You shed light on something I would not have thought of otherwise and I appreciate how your critique is respectful and kind.

    • Sarah Xu

      I would definitely like to learn about spirituals written by diverse composers as well! I liked Day 3 of this study, “Go Tell It on the Mountain” which I’ve heard and sung all my life and never knew was originally an African American spiritual. I’m glad SRT included it and hope for more like that as the study progresses

    • Lana

      Go tell it on the mountain, day 3, and they referred to the author as a boy. Still haven’t gotten over it though I have been praying to God for the grace to help me do so.

      • Liz


      • Chris

        The reference was like saying I’m a Colorado girl!! I grew up there!! This Colorado girl became an Oklahoma woman!! Same reference that John became a Nashville man.

        • Claire

          I went back and re-read Day 3. I do not believe any disrespect was intended at all. If you read it in context of the life of the boy who grew into a man and saw his work come to fruition. I am a 61 year old southern girl, I use boy and girl all the time and it doesn’t matter how old or who they are. Boys and girls are just that, males and females. Maybe it is a southern thing but it is not intended disrespectfully. I hope you will go back and read it with an open heart. None of us here mean any disrespect, we are here for worship and devotion.

  • Alwayssjk

    Many years ago when I was a child, my parents used to sing hymns in the car when we were driving home at night from a day trip. Just reading those words brought back the memory of their beautiful voices singing in harmony. It’s one of my favorite memories of my childhood. Thank you.

    • Leonie

      I´ve never heard this song before… and love the version you shared! Thank you :)

  • Chelsea

    Early this morning, I sang this exact song to my baby boy while rocking him back to sleep. I haven’t heard or thought of this song in years and wondered to myself why it had suddenly come to mind. I then read this devotional and was amazed that it was the exact song he put in my heart just a few hours before. Oh, how the Spirit moves in little ways to show me that I am His own.

    • Emily B.


    • Teresa Hall

      Such a wonderful reminder to me..to look for all the ways God speaks to us. To hear,see,look and feel Him speaking specifically to us…as in a face to face relationship. Thank you for this ..oh so important..reminder Chelsea! Bless you and your sweet baby boy.

  • Hailey T.

    There is a wonderful Johnny Cash album called “My Mother’s Hymn Book”. it has several of the Hymns we’ve discussed.

  • I think I need to make more time “in the garden” talking with God. I know he walks with me daily, but I also need to walk with him. Something that really hit me was my expectations. If I expect God to listen to me and hear my cries, I need to listen to him. I need to hear him words and follow his lead.

  • Tears with this one this morning. This hymn is the first hymn that ever truly spoke to me and it was long before I met Jesus. I sat, a young girl, in the pew of my family’s old church and thumbed through the old, blue worn hymnal. The page turns stopped on this one and immediately, “He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am his own” jumped out at me. Every Sunday, I would look for that page and memorize more of the song. And though I didn’t fully understand it, I believe it was placed on my heart so that when the time came I could recall that memory and know, without a doubt, what it meant. I don’t think it coincidence that the vision God gifted me of my life with Him, is a walk, either. It continues to blow me away how profoundly He ties so many things in our lives together over the course of our lives, however many years apart. And it continues to serve as a reminder in wily seasons that God is still working things out and I can’t wait to see what He brings together. :)

  • I love this hymn. In its peacefulness and reassurance. It reminds me of my grandpa. I remember he sang it in Spanish church once. That was the only time I saw my grandpa cry. His faithfulness was a wonderful example of gentle love that was always available… what a testimony. ❤️

  • I have posted a link to a tender duet of this hymn I found on You Tube a year ago. Incredibly tender. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdShzPx38qY&feature=share

  • He does walk with us every minute of the day through the Holy Spirit. Hand in hand. Without Him, how would we make it through a day? Thankful for his gentle love today.

  • Elisabeth7291

    This is one of my mom’s favorite verses. As I get older, I understand why. I learned from her the sweetness of time spent alone with my Savior.

  • churchmouse

    These verses – emotional and strong. This hymn – my prayer closet. We tarry there that we might boldly and lovingly go forth. Yes.

Further Reading...