Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Troubled Soul, Be Still"

I've been deep in Advent planning mode for the past month at Hope Chapel and I've loved it this year more than ever before. The happenings of the past 6 months stormed into our family story without permission, and I'm amazed at how much differently we're thinking about life. Advent is all about waiting and longing... not just in a sentimental nativity-scene kind of way, but longing for things to really be made right. I love the way someone put it-- one day "everything sad will come untrue." Without question, we're identifying with that longing in ways we never have before, and it's both heartbreaking and hopeful. These words, from a sermon Dietrich Bonhoeffer preached on December 2, 1928, say it well:

The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.

I've been coming back to a certain hymn text every few weeks for a while now. It was written by Albert Simpson in the early 20th century and, in the context of waiting and longing, seems like a beautifully unconventional advent song. I set it to new music and recorded a rough demo. Hope it's an encouragement to you as it's been to me.

O Troubled Soul, Be Still

Be still, O troubled soul, be still;
Fear not, the Father holds you near.
Take up your cross, lay down your will,
And bring him all your fears,
And bring him all your fears.

O anxious soul, lay down your load,
Oh, hear His voice, He speaks to thee,
“Be still and know that I am God,
And cast your cares on Me.
Cast your cares on Me”

O fearful soul, be still, be still,
Be of good cheer; has He not said,
“I will be with you, fear no ill,
I am here, be not afraid“?
I am here, be not afraid“?

O waiting soul, be still, be strong,
And though He tarry, trust and wait;
Doubt not, He will not wait too long,
Fear not, He won’t be late.
Fear not, He won’t be late.

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