Friday, April 17, 2020

Hymns of Hope: Be Still My Soul

The very powerful words to the hymn, "Be Still My Soul," were written in 1752 and translated into English in 1855. The first verse is perfect for this trying time we are in.

"Be still, my soul, the Lord is on your side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to your God to order and provide. In ev'ry change, he faithful will remain. Be still, my soul, your best, your heav'nly friend, through thorny ways leads to a joyful end."

The verse tells us that God is over all creation, but instead of using His sovereign power to destroy us, He sustains our lives. Instead of crushing us as we deserve, He is merciful. He is patient. He is good.

'Be still, my soul, the waves and winds still know His voice.' I love that line in verse two. It means don't let anything shake you. God is in control.

"Be still, my soul, your God will undertake to guide the future as He has the past. Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake. All now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul, the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below."

Verse three offers the assurance that God loves us. We are His children and in the midst of troubled times, 'we shall know His love.'

"Be still, my soul, when dearest friends depart and all is darkened in the vale of tears. Then shall you better know His love, His heart who comes to soothe your sorrow and your fears. Be still, my soul, your Jesus can repay from his own fullness all he takes away."

Verse four is about God's promise of what lies ahead if you are saved. That, one day, grief, disappointment and fear will be gone. Hallelujah!

"Be still, my soul, the hour is hast'ning on when we shall be forever with the Lord. When disappointment, grief and fear are gone, sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored. Be still, my soul, when change and tears are past, all safe and blessed, we shall meet at last."

The writer of the hymn was Ka­tha­ri­na A. von Schle­gel, who lived in the German city of Cothen, where Johann Sebastian Bach lived for a short time. She wrote a number of hymns that combines biblical doctrine with living a vigorous Christian life. "Stille meine Wille," or “Be Still My Soul,” gives us assurance that, in the midst of the storm, our souls are secure and we can rest easy because God is in control.

Exultate Singers , a choir based in Bristol, UK that was founded by conductor and composer David Ogden, performs a beautiful version of “Be Still My Soul.”

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