Thou must not altogether be
O’ercome by sad vexation,
God soon will cause to shine on thee
The light of consolation.
In patience wait, and be thou still,
And let the Lord do what He will,
He never can do evil.
Is this the first time we have known
And tasted sore affliction?
What have we had but grief alone
On earth, and sore dejection?
We’ve had an ample share of grief,
Yet God hath sometimes sent relief,
A respite brief of gladness.
Not so doth God our Father mean,
When His afflictions grieve us,
That no more shall His face be seen
That He’ll for ever leave us;
His purposes quite other are,
That those who from Him wander far
By trial be recover’d.
It is our nature’s evil mood
That when in joys we’re living,
We then forsake our highest good,
Ourselves to license giving.
We earthly are, and deem more worth
The things and pleasures of the earth,
Than all that dwells in heaven.
God therefore all our joys doth blight,
Lets trials overtake us,
Takes that wherein our hearts delight,
Look up to Him to make us,
That to His goodness and His pow’r,
That we’ve neglected heretofore,
We may return as children.
When we return to Him again
He graciously receives us,
To joy He turns our every pain,
To laughter turns what grieves us;
To Him it is a simple art,
He soon doth help to him impart
Whom He with love embraceth.
Afflicted band! oh, fall ye now
With contrite hearts before Him,
Tell Him that ye in homage bow
To His great name; implore Him
In grace your sins to take away,
The load He on your backs did lay
To bear, your wounds to bind up.
Grace always before right must go,
And wrath to love yield ever;
His merest mercy, when we low
Are lying, must deliver.
His hand it is upholds us all,
If we let go, then break and fall
Must all our work to pieces.
On God’s love must thou ever stay,
Nor let aught overthrow thee,
E’en when the heav’ns shall pass away
And earth shall crash below thee:
God promiseth His grace to thee,
His word is clear, who fearlessly
Trusts it, is ne’er deceivèd.
So darest thou His pow’r so great
Ne’er doubt a moment even,
Who is it that doth all create,—
By whom all gifts are given?
God doth it, and His counsel wise
Can ever ways and means devise,
When every man despaireth.
Seems help impossible to thee?
This should’st thou know however,
God by our narrow thoughts can be
Hemm’d and confinèd never,
This ne’er to us alloweth He;
He everywhere,—His arm is free,—
Doth more than we can fathom.
What is His wide dominion fair?
’Tis full of varied wonder;
He helpeth us when dark despair
We helplessly sink under,
To His great name this is the praise,
If thou wilt see His holy place,
Thou must ascribe for ever.
Paul Gerhardt’s Spiritual Songs, 1867