In Mosie Lister's own words, "This song was literally a gift from God. In the mid-1960s, I realized I had gone for an incredibly long time without writing anything that meant anything. It had been over a year, and that was rare for me. I had never been through a dry spell like that before. I began feeling somewhat despondent about it. Then I felt I needed to search my mind and my heart, which I began to do.
We were living in Tampa then, and one morning I was driving to town to get my mail and started thinking about how long it had been since I had written anything. I just sincerely and honestly prayed to God that I felt I might be at a place in my life where He was pointing me to do something other than write music, as much as I loved it and felt it was given to me from Him. I said, 'Right now I just give You whatever ability I have. If You want me to go in another direction and leave writing, I'll do that and will be happy about it. I just need to know what Your will is. If You'll show me Your will, I'll do it.'
After returning from town, I did what I was doing a lot in those days. I took my guitar and just started strumming and humming to myself. I began singing, "Many times I'm tried and tested as I travel day by day..." I was on the second verse before it dawned on me what I was doing. This was a new song, and I hadn't written one in over a year.
2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you" came to mind. That became the chorus. Since then, I've never doubted that I'm doing exactly what He wants me to do."
The song that came along in 1965 at a time when Mosie needed its message himself?
Many times I’m tried and tested
As I travel day by day;
‘Oft I meet with pain and sorrow,
And there’s trouble in the way.
But I have a sweet assurance
That my soul, the Lord will lead.
And in Him there is strength for ev’ry need.
His grace is sufficient for me,
And His love is abundant and free;
And what joy fills my soul
Just to know, just to know
That His grace is sufficient for me!
- Mosie Lister, 1965
Copied from“Sing to the Lord” © 1993 by Lillenas Publishing Company
Hymn commentary courtesy J. D. Sherrow