I grew up singing the best old hymns of the faith. We sang them so consistently that their lyrics and melodies carved deep ruts in my memory. I couldn’t appreciate their doctrinal strength or poetic beauty as a child or a teenager, but now they resonate at a far deeper level. Now I can understand their textured truths in a deeper way, and I’ve experienced some things in life that test and prove what these songs were saying all along.
Every now and then, I rediscover a rich hymn I haven’t seen for awhile. This morning I pulled a hymnal off the shelf, flipped through the pages, and settled down with Katharina von Schlegel’s Be Still, My Soul. It was the favorite hymn of Scottish Olympian and missionary Eric Liddell.
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Be still my soul—the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, he faithful will remain.
Be still my soul! Thy best, thy heavenly friend,
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still my soul—thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy 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.
Be still my soul—the hour is hastening 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.