They Didn't Want the Gory Songs

by Lindsay Terry

Song: "I Will Glory in the Cross"

Scripture: " But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Galatians 1:1-15).

Dottie Rambo excelled as a woman who has greatly influenced the world of Christian music. It all started in the rural town of Madisonville, Ky., when she was only eight years of age. She came home one day and began to quote a poem to her mother, who was cooking in the kitchen. She had just come from the creek bank, where she had composed the verses. Her mother began to weep with joy as she realized that her little girl, one of her eleven children, had a wonderful gift from the Lord.

By age eleven she had begun to write songs, one of which was sung by the Happy Goodman Family and recorded by Jimmy Davis, then governor of Louisiana.

As the years went by God gave her hundreds of songs, many of which are sung by people around the world and have been recorded by thousands of artists. Scattered among those triumphs were periods of heartaches and disappointment. Yet, out of these dark days came some of her most blessed songs. During an interview she revealed that she and her family were going through some rough times in the mid-1970s. She related it in this fashion:

"We were doing a lot of concerts, competitive concerts, making a lot of money. Suddenly I realized that I was not living close to the Lord. I was not writing under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I also realized that I had never done anything to merit all of this goodness, recognition, and fame.

"I then began to study the Scriptures where Paul said that he didn't glory in himself (Gal. 6:14). I came back to the realization that all I have is because of the grace of God and the cross of Christ.

"During this time we went to Holland to do a number of concerts. When we got off the plane, people met us and took us to this little quaint hotel. As we rode along they informed us that while we were there, singing in the concerts, we were not to sing about the cross of Christ. I looked at the young man who was escorting us and asked, Do you mean that we are not allowed to sing about the cross to these Christians?' He said, No. They consider it gory. They don't want to hear about the blood or the cross.' I then looked at him-I was old enough to be his mother-and said, Son, if you won't tell them you told me this, then I will pretend I don't know it. Because, I will be singing about the cross and about the blood of Christ.'

"We sang in the concert that very night, "He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need." People were weeping all over the audience, even the man who sent the message that we were not to sing about the cross of Christ. The Lord really seemed to move in the hearts of the people.

"We went back to the little hotel that evening and to bed. I lay there in the darkness and began to weep. I said, God, I apologize that we wouldn't want to hear about the blood of Christ, His cross, and His grace. I really apologize.' As I lay there the Lord began to give me a song. I kept it all in my heart until the next morning when I awoke to write it down."

The song that she wrote as she laid there in the darkened room has a thought, not expressed in any other musical composition that I have ever heard. "I will weep no more for the cross that He bore, but I will glory in the cross."

What an amazing story and what a glorious song! She realized, as you and I should, that the gift of God, for a lost world, is something for which to thank Him, something for which to give Him glory and praise.

In the song she puts everything in the right perspective, as she recalls her feeling while studying Galatians chapter six. So she began her song. "I boast not of works, or tell of good deeds. We have nothing that would gain for us a place at the table of Life.' Only His love will make provision for us to partake."

Dottie Rambo, following great periods of sickness and surgeries, continued to travel across our nation, singing her songs and blessing the hearts of Christians. She told me, "I asked the Lord to let me, at least once each year, write a song that will speak to the hearts of Christians everywhere." Her songs might not have come with that frequency, but in the Lord's time He gave to all of us, through her, so many wonderful musical treasures.

Editor's note: Dottie Rambo died on Mother's Day, May 11, 2008, the victim of a highway accident. She was 74.

Lindsay Terry has been a song historian for more than 40 years, and has been published
in a number of publications, including Pulpit Helps. He has also written
some 34 books and church training manuals.

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