Posted by: rcottrill | March 28, 2019

Give to the Winds Thy Fears

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Paul Gerhardt (b. Mar. 12, 1607; d. May 27, 1676)
Music: Diademata, by George Job Elvey (b. Mar. 27, 1816; d. Dec, 9, 1893)

Wordwise Hymns (Paul Gerhardt) (for another article that tells the amazing story behind this hymn see here)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Paul Gerhardt, a German pastor and hymn writer from long ago, went through some severe trials that touched his family too. To encourage his wife, he wrote the following hymn. Later, He saw the Lord work in their circumstances in amazing ways. (See the second Wordwise Hymns link for the story.)

As to the tune, you will see from the Cyber Hymnal that the hymn has nine four-line verses, with a tune to fit. But I’ve combined eight stanzas into four eight-line stanzas, for which I recommend the tune Diademata, which we commonly use for Crown Him with Many Crowns. (I see from that exactly this formatting of the stanzas was used in a hymnal as early as 1806.)

Fear is a common emotion. In small and infrequent doses, it can serve as a safety alarm to keep us from some kind of danger. But when it becomes chronic and intrusive in our daily lives, it will begin to have a negative affect on our health.

Chronic fear and anxiety can weaken our immune system, making us more susceptible to colds and flu and other ailments. It can also cause problems with the digestive system, and the heart. It can disrupt sleep–which, in itself can lead to other health issues. A sustained anxious state can impair memory, and even bring the development of phobias that make us shy away from living life, and mixing socially with others.

Fear and other related words (such as afraid, terror, troubled, scare, anxious) are found over 800 times in the Bible (averaging a dozen per book). This shows the fear factor was common, long before our modern world brought so many new things to disturb our peace of mind. They could be fearful without bombs and terrorists, without computer hacking and more.

Fear and worry are frequent companions. The things we’re afraid of we worry are going to happen to us. On the other hand, what answer does the Word of God point us to? That faith in Him nurtures peace and rest to the mind and heart. When we call upon the Lord, we’re involving One who has the compassion and power to help us deal with the things that trouble us.

“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Ps. 27:14).

David says, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” And, later in the same psalm, “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid” (Ps. 56:3, 11). In another psalm he says, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Ps. 34:4). It’s not that the believer will be (to borrow a phrase from Dr. Watts) “carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease.” But the Lord does help us, nonetheless.

Sometimes a dramatic deliverance is involved, but not always. God can also give us daily grace to cope with our trials and continue to honour Him (II Cor. 12:7-9). Out of our struggles we can learn patience and endurance (Jas. 1:2-4), and we experience a new level of God’s presence and comfort (Ps. 23:4). The latter equips us to minister comfort to others going through their own rough times (II Cor. 1:3-4). And beyond the present scene, we have the joyful expectation of our eternal home, with things that trouble us here gone forever.

“I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4).

Paul Gerhardt’s beautiful hymn on the theme of dealing with our fears deserves to be much better known that it is.

1) Give to the winds thy fears,
Hope and be undismayed.
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears,
God shall lift up thy head.
Through waves and clouds and storms,
He gently clears thy way;
Wait thou His time; so shall this night
Soon end in joyous day.

3) Leave to His sovereign sway
To choose and to command;
So shalt thou, wondering, own that way,
How wise, how strong this hand.
Far, far above thy thought,
His counsel shall appear,
When fully He the work hath wrought,
That caused thy needless fear.

And the hymn concludes with the following earnest prayer:

4) Thou seest our weakness, Lord;
Our hearts are known to Thee;
O lift Thou up the sinking hand,
Confirm the feeble knee!
Let us in life, in death,
Thy steadfast truth declare,
And publish with our latest breath
Thy love and guardian care.

1) What is your greatest fear or anxiety?

2) Are there Scriptures noted in the article, or thoughts expressed in lines of the hymn, that encourage you? (How?)

Wordwise Hymns (Paul Gerhardt) (for another article that tells the amazing story behind this hymn see here)
The Cyber Hymnal


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