Be Still My Soul


Little is known of this hymn writer with the impressive name, Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel. She was attached to a small ducal court at Cothen, Germany. (One source says she headed an evangelical Lutheran nunnery there.) Before she died in 1768, she apparently wrote 29 hymns, but only one of Graphic Jesus on the Sea them has been translated (by Jane Borthwick) and remains in common use. That is the beautiful Be Still, My Soul, which likely draws its inspiration in part from Ps. 46:10-11.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah [Think of that!]

As the Lord came to the disciples walking on the stormy sea, so He has proven Himself abundantly able to meet the needs of so many in the storms of life. Be Still, My Soul was the favourite hymn of Eric Liddell, the gold medalist in the 1924 Olympics, who later went to China as a missionary, and ended his life in a Japanese prison camp during the Second World War. It also proved a personal blessing to me at the time of a long stay in the hospital for a double surgery. Have you found it a blessing too? Post a comment and let us know.

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 blessèd we shall meet at last.

The boys’ choir Libera, of St. Philip’s Church in South London, has produced a haunting video of this hymn. It juxtaposes the audio with images of British servicemen from the Second World War, making the point of the song in a powerful way. I encourage you to take a few moments to listen to this memorable performance on YouTube.

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