david santistevan


Song Story – “I Surrender All [every thought]”

I love hymns. I really strive to write songs that portray the Gospel in its glory, as many hymns do. This is one of my favorites, though it’s always troubled me to just sing “I Surrender All” and not mean it. Beautiful words and a beautiful melody can make surrender seem easy and pleasant. Not so much. Those words are massive, mind-blowing. So, I decided to add on a chorus (believe me, I’m not trying to improve on the amazing song) that brought more description to what “I surrender all” means. Every thought, every word, every deed, this is my worship to You.

The story of Judson W. Van DeVenter is also quite inspiring. Here’s a simple summary in his own words:

“For many years I had been studying art. My whole life was wrapped up in its pursuit and the thing farthest from my mind was active Christian service. My dream was to become an outstanding and famous artist. After graduating from college, I studied drawing and painting under a well-known German teacher. To help me financially, I taught school and eventually I became supervisor of art in the public schools of Sharon, Pennsylvania.

It was during this period in my life that a revival was held in the First Methodist Church of which I was a member. I became very interested in these meetings as a personal worker. The Spirit of God was urging me to give up teaching and to enter the evangelistic field, but I would not yield. I still had a burning desire to be an artist. This battle raged for five years. At last the time came when I could hold out no longer and I surrendered my all-my time and my talents. It was then that a new day was ushered into my life. I wrote I Surrender All in memory of the time when, after the long struggle, I had surrendered and dedicated my life to active Christian service for the Lord.”

It’s interesting to see how the Spirit of God led Judson to his final surrender. God knows what is best for us and patient with us when we don’t trust Him right away.

It’s also humbling to partner with Judson so many years after his death to sing this beautiful song. I pray it stirs you to give your all to Jesus.


October 24, 2008 - Posted by | Song Stories

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