Have you experienced the peace of God during times of trouble?
The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
Be still my soul
Be still, my soul! thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past,
Thy hope, they 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 (v2) , Katharina Amalia von Schlegel (1697-?)
Whatever your circumstances, if you believe the first line of this great hymn, you will be at rest. In the midst of the psalmist’s troubles, the Lord said, “Be still, and know that I am God.” It was these same words that spoke to Katharina von Schlegel in the turbulent times of post-Reformation Germany. A century after Luther’s reforms, central Europe was racked by the Thirty Years’ War, which pitted Catholics against Protestants. The Lutheran church lapsed into formalism and dead orthodoxy. In the darkness of that time, God raised up the Pietist movement, which stressed personal holiness, charity, missions, and music.
The songs of the Pietists were largely unknown outside of Germany until three British women — Jane and Sarah Borthwick and Catherine Winkworth — began to translate them into English a hundred years later. This hymn, penned by the leading woman of the Pietist movement, a canoness of a women’s seminary, was among those forgotten songs.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
How absolutely necessary is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit! It is not possible for us to promote the glory of God or to bless the souls of men, unless the Holy Spirit shall be in us and with us. Those who were assembled on that memorable day of Pentecost, were all men of prayer and faith; but even these precious gifts are only available when the celestial fire sets them on a blaze. They were all men of experience; most of them had been preachers of the Word and workers of miracles; they had endured trials and troubles in company with their Lord, and had been with him in his temptation. Among them were the apostles and the seventy evangelists, and with them were those honoured women in whose houses the Lord had often been entertained, and who had ministered to him of their substance; yet even these favoured and honoured saints can do nothing without the breath of God the Holy Spirit. Apostles and evangelists dare not even attempt anything alone; they must tarry at Jerusalem till power be given them from on high. It was not a want of education; they had been for three years in the college of Christ, with perfect wisdom as their tutor, matchless eloquence as their instructor, and immaculate perfection as their example; yet they must not venture to open their mouths to testify of the mystery of Jesus, until the anointing Spirit has come with blessed unction from above. Surely if so it was with them, much more must it be the case with us.