O God Give Me Strength
Every morning for 17 years when Dmitri was imprisoned he would stand, face the east as the sun rose, raise his hands, and sing a song of praise to God. The two songs he sang the most were "My Way As Others Not, Especially With Flowers," and "O God Give Me Strength." As he sang the other prisoners would spit at him, curse at him, and bang their cups along the prison bars. He said he sang every morning so he would remember who he was, and Who he believed in. After all those years the guards still couldn't break him. One day after he wrote scripture front and back on a piece of paper and posted it on his cell wall the guards were ready to kill him. As they were dragging him to his execution the prisoners stood up, faced the east, raised their hands, and stared singing "O God Give Me Strength!" Fear came over the guards and they eventually let Dmitri go!
There is no way I could have done this song without Melodee Devevo of Casting Crowns and Bernie Herms. Melodee is fluent in Russian and taught me how to pronounce these words. Bernie is a brilliant arranger and producer. We combined both songs Dmitri sang and just called it "O God Give Me Strength." I've always loved the violin intro in Schindler's List, so Bernie wrote a string solo at the beginning. I sing accapella in honor of Dmitri singing by himself in prison. I had envisioned a Russian mens choir representing the prisoners singing as he was being dragged to his death. That dream was realized through The Oasis Chamber Choir comprised of many Russian members! God can use anyone He wants. He used murderers and thieves to save an honorable man's life. He can even use you and me.
O GOD GIVE ME STRENGTH
Arranged by Todd Smith, Bernie Herms, and Melodee Devevo
My way, as others, is not decorated with flowers,
fragrant roses do not grow along it;
my way is among the thorns where blackthorn needles only grow.
I walk, with battered limbs, and it seems a difficult road ahead.
But the voice in my heart somewhere deep inside,
confidently whispers: "Do not be afraid, come!"
That's the voice of heaven that invites me:
"Tired, exhausted traveler, holy reward awaits you,
in heavenly glory, come quickly!"
Oh God, God, give me strength
To lay my soul down for those close to me (my neighbors)
And in my pure heart to the grave
To forgive all wrong doings of my enemies
Let them throw stones at my chest
Not recognizing the feelings of saints,
Let them hate, curse -
I will lay down my soul for them
1. Dmitri's Song (Jesus Is Alive)
2. We Must Not
3. You're The Water, You're The Shore
Todd Smith & Ellie Holcomb
4. Until Your Will Is Done
Ed Cash, Nikita Odnoralov, Todd Smith
5. More Than Moved
No Other Name
6. Be (My Heart, My Hands, My Voice)
7. Bika Mono Ve (Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior)/It Is Well
8. O God Give Me Strength
Todd Smith & The Oasis Chamber Choir