A Hymn For Today
A song I have found meaningful lately is “Commit Now All Your Griefs” written in 1653 by Paul Gerhardt. This is a great hymn for teaching us how to deal with fear.
Paul Gerhardt was a Lutheran pastor who lived, with his family, through the Thirty Year’s War. This was a time of conflict in central Europe in which violence, famine, and plague resulted in the deaths of 20% of the population of Germany. Four of Gerhardt’s five children died young, and he lost his wife to a lengthy illness. So, when Gerhardt wrote about how knowing God can free us from fear and sorrow, he was speaking from personal experience.
I have found it helpful to sing this hymn in my prayer time and to listen to others sing it online. What I love about the hymn is that its instruction for us to cast off our fear is not merely an emotional sentiment based on wishful thinking. The hymn reminds us that, as believers, our freedom from fear is grounded in the unchanging nature of our God.
Here are the words to the hymn:
Commit now all your griefs and ways into his hands;
To his sure truth and tender care, who earth and heav’n commands.
Who points the clouds their course, whom winds and seas obey,
He shall direct your wand’ring feet, he shall prepare your way.
Give to the winds your fears; hope, and be undismayed;
God hears your sighs and counts your tears, God shall lift up your head.
Through waves and clouds and storms he gently clears your way;
Wait for his time, so shall the night soon end in joyous day.
Still heavy is your heart? Still sink your spirits down?
Cast off the weight, let fear depart, and every care be gone.
He everywhere has sway, and all things serve his might;
His every act pure blessing is, his path unsullied light.
Far, far above your thought his counsel shall appear,
When fully he the work hath wrought that caused your needless fear.
Leave to his sovereign will to choose and to command;
With wonder filled, you then shall own how wise, how strong his hand.