Hymns of Hope: Day 4

Be Still, My Soul

by

Today's Text: Psalm 62:1-12, Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 8:22-25, James 5:7-8

Scripture Reading: Psalm 62:1-12, Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 8:22-25, James 5:7-8

My soul is not good at being still.

This morning, I took a book and a cup of coffee to the front porch, and in just a few moments, I was distracted. My phone called to me, trapping me in the never-ending deluge of other people’s happy photos. I wondered about what I’d make for dinner. A calendar alert reminded me of an appointment I’d forgotten. And then time ran out. My moments of solace were gone because I’d given them away to lesser things.

It is hard to guard stillness because I live in a world that drives me to move faster, do more, and document my achievement. The word “hustle” is everywhere. There’s a constant sense that if I don’t make something of myself, nothing will ever come of my life. I know that it is a lie, but it continues to trap me anyway. In my best moments, I am exhausted. In my worst, I am detached from my soul in a way that is nearly dissociative. How can I know my own heart when I spend so little time with it?

It is hard to guard stillness because being still allows the emotions I’d rather ignore to rise to the surface— emotions like pain, sorrow, and loss. Fears arise about of the futility of life, how little I’ve truly accomplished, and how frequently I let my friends and myself down. When I’m quiet, my questions for God get very loud.

Are You there, God?
Do You see me?
Do You know how I’m hurting?
Do You truly love me?

My heart is not always a happy place. Stillness requires me to face my own grief that life isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be.

In Megan Devine’s beautiful book, It’s OK that You’re Not OK, she writes, “Grief is simply love in its most wild and painful form. It is a natural and sane response to loss.” In the same way, I should not be surprised by the longings, desires, and heartache that surface when I sit in stillness. My heart was designed for something other than this world I live in. The pain and sorrow surrounding me is foreign—it’s no wonder I’m homesick for a place I’ve never been before.

The hymn “Be Still My Soul” is a song of longing for how things will be, but aren’t yet. There are no silver linings in this song, only the promise of God’s abiding comfort in the midst of my sadness, the promise that He will ultimately dry every tear from my eyes.

I love that this hymn was written and is sung in a minor key, because this life is not a tune of happy hallelujahs. No—it is a thorny way that leads to a joyful end. But I’m not at that joyful end—not yet. And no amount of my effort can produce what only God can accomplish. Only in stillness can I feel His presence. Only in honestly uncovering my deepest wounds can I receive His soothing care.

The hour is hastening on when I will be forever with the Lord. Until then, let me guard time for stillness—my soul is desperate for it. Until then, may my soul find rest in God’s presence. “He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:1–2).

 

Be Still, My Soul
Original Text: Katrina von Schlegel, 1752
Translation: Jane Borthwick, 1855

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
in ev’ry change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy 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: when dearest friends depart,
and all is darkened in the veil of tears,
then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
from His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
when we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

SRT-HymnsofHope-Shareimage-Day4

Claire Gibson is a writer whose work has been featured in publications including The Washington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine among many others. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Patrick, their son, Sam, and their dog, Winnie. Her debut novel, Beyond the Point, will be published next year.

  • Kim Lamgo

    I needed the reminder to be still. I try to do too much and not get the rest my body needs. The words of the hymn were also. A balm for my sorrowing heart. Yesterday another relative passed away – 3 in less than 11 months. But praise God for the hope of eternity and the opportunity to be with Jesus in heaven and to be reunited again!!

  • Deirdre Schwiring

    So. True. So hard to be still in a fast paced world. I don’t find being still hard just because It brings up difficult emotions, but it is just hard to really slow down. Often my time with God is comforting and a time of reminder that He is with me.

  • Erin McMahon

    I will rest in the Lord and be patient like the farmer! We’re so longingly seeking adoption through foster care…but man, foster care is rough and the road seems long and this winter season of life has lasted YEARS. But God is good. This devo was so encouraging to me today!

  • Tamara B.

    The Lord spoke kindly through your words. I will not be shaken, and will embrace the grief with joyful hope.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Erin Kerwin

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I’m preparing to help refugees, and utter sorrow from how things are in this world has twisted my stomach. A sorrow I really need to bring to Him in stillness, and finally am tonight. He wants our heart cries! He is the Healer! He is so so faithful!

  • Amy Masaschi

    Great rendition of this hymn by Matthew Smith of Indelible Grace: https://www.matthewsmith.us/quiethymns.html

  • Molly Gilbane

    What a perfect message to Be Still in a world that glorifies busyness. Exactly what I needed to read today, as I struggle balancing work, managing a household, and raising my infant son. Thank you Jesus for this beautiful gift we call life.

  • Jaime Ripley

    This was a perfect reading for today. I am still dealing with the grief from miscarrying our first child at 11 weeks. And this hymn and reading today was exactly perfect for where I am at.

  • Thank you for this. I am always in need of reminding to Be still and feel God’s presence and hear His voice. This was a beautiful and much needed devotional.

  • Cherish Cooper

    I love listening to the hymns while I read the verses and devo. It’s so much easier for me to engage and be still.

  • Lovely thoughts. Thanks for writing. (FYI, Be Still My Soul isn’t in a minor key…..definitely major, but does have a phrase in the chorus that uses the relative minor….sorry!)

  • This was really eye-opening for me. Lately, I have found myself in a period where I try and fill all my time up so I don’t have to deal with all the thoughts and worries and fears and decisions that my mind and my heart know I have to make. I need to give myself more time to be still so that I can allow myself to hear God.

  • Wow this was right on point for me today. My whole life I have always been busy doing something to the point where if I didn’t have anything to do, I’d find something because I didn’t like to not be doing. Now I am in a season where I don’t have schoolwork for the first time in my life and I haven’t known what to do with my free time. All the empty space with nothing to do made me feel anxious and definitely brought up emotions that I used busyness to cover up in the past. But, this summer I’ve felt God calling out to me to take this time and spend with him in stillness. Like yesterday’s devotion, to abide with him and use this season to go deeper into a relationship with him. This devotion only reinforced what He has been speaking to me. And it’s so hard to sit with all the things we push aside and let the things we cover up, come to the surface but when those come up, we can surrender them to God. He strips us away layer by layer and refines us.

  • Stacey Reibold

    I feel as though a lot of the time that I cannot feel God’s presence and when I am doubting Him, is when I am at my peak of being busy. I become so engulfed in whatever I am doing, that I cannot hear any voice around me or feel any presence of anyone. If I do not practice stillness, I may lose faith in Him and ultimately lose who I am in light of that. Such a great reminder.

  • Emily Davis

    This really captures my fear and heartbreak surrounding loss. I pray I get the a point where I feel Gods comfort/presence in this.

  • Amanda Pritchett

    Today’s study really hit home. I struggle being quiet, being still doesn’t happen much, because the fears and doubts and heartaches come to the surface and fill my head more than his words. It’s good to be reminded that it’s okay to wrestle through these, and that my hope is in Him, and his truths can help calm my heart and my mind. :)

  • Charlie Stamper

    Praying for you!❤️

  • Laura Schulte

    This post was everything I needed to hear in the right moment. The Holy Spirit led me here so I could hear what He has been trying to reveal to me. Thank you for your obedience and your vulnerability, sister.

  • Carol Lee

    This song and the devotional hit the minor chord in my heart, the truths hit home for me and a friend. It’s comforting without a Pollyanna-ish hope. Thank you!

  • Kimberly Martinson

    Hmm. Thanks so much, Claire.

  • “It is hard to guard stillness because I live in a world that drives me to move faster, do more, and document my achievement. The word “hustle” is everywhere. There’s a constant sense that if I don’t make something of myself, nothing will ever come of my life”

    This is something I can relate to myself. I was raised Catholic, left the church for more than 20 years and now renewing my faith at 41. In this time yes I have also experienced the above of feeling like every day you need to accomplish and document achievement. Now it’s time to yes have dreams but surrender, be still and listen so much more. It can be easy to get caught up in needing everything to be perfect in this life!

  • We just sang this in church on Sunday!

  • Natasha Reyes

    Wow. I think this is the most beautiful hymn I’ve encountered so far! I pray that God will show me who among the people in my life I should share this hymn with. These words will really soothe someone’s troubled soul.

  • Lauren Kilpatrick

    “my heart was designed for something other than this world I live in” WOW

  • Anamaria L

    I am never STILL….I constantly try to occupy my mind so that I don’t have to face the BIG STUFF. “How can I know my heart when I spend so little time with it” This is powerful.

  • Rachel Keefer

    This spoke volumes to me. It dropped on to my heart like a rain drop and then rippled in to my soul. Oh how I long for stillness in the midst of chaos.

  • Melody Coney

    This spoke to me in massive ways as I am in a season of transition, finding a new job, finding my new normal and the world around me says to “keep the hustle going.” God says to “Be still, my soul”
    That’s the prayer for my heart this morning.

  • Irene TobeyUmilin

    Thank you for this reminder! I really needed this today! ❤️

  • “Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past. Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; all now mysterious shall be bright at last.” These words speak dearly to me because right now is a waiting game for my son, his finance’ and me and many others in my family and her family. They are trying to have a baby through in-vitro and so far only two eggs and sperms have become embryos. They have one more chance in August to fertilize eggs and sperm. They so want a family. Andrew, my son, acts like it’s no big deal but I know deep down it hurts. Dani, his finance’, is hurting and she opening expressed. Due to her having some psychological problems and my son drinking an occasional beer and brewing beer they are unable to adopt. I tell them God works in mysterious ways like this song says. Please pray for them, to keep their hopes and spirits up and to think positive. My sisters in Christ, we all know the power of pray.

    • She Reads Truth

      Thanks for sharing Dorothy. We’ll be praying for you and your family during this time. So grateful that you’re here reading with us. -Margot, The SRT Team

  • Kelly Belvis

    I needed to read THIS today- We CAN be still in God’s presence!

  • Diane Haller

    “My moments of solace were gone, because I’d given them away to lesser things…”. This so resonates, sadly…good and necessary reminders! ❤️

  • Adrienna Purdy

    This is what I need to remember right now. Yesterday, I got a phone call that the doctor found an ovarian cyst that they want to test for cancer. I’m 28 with a young child and a lot of plans. I’m so terrified that I keep looking anywhere but stillness. Praying that I can rest in Him, regardless of the outcome, and especially while I wait.

  • Kelly Hock

    “How can I know my heart when I spend so little time with it?” This line spots to me… I too get distracted. I currently hear my heart sad and longing for relationship. My husband has been at a camp for 3 weeks now and I have not seen him in two weeks. I think my heart is longing for that relationship. So today and the rest of this week I am holding tight to my relationship with the living God. I have heard my heart… now praying for God to restore. I am also listening closely to the separation I am desiring from the current town I live in. Why do I feel my heart desire to move. Yet I know this place it is safe to me… is He calling us away from safety? Still listening.

  • Naomi Reynolds

    Thank You for sharing…❤
    This is me yet I did not have the words to explain and now I do.

  • Lynn Johnson

    Be still, my soul. May I have the courage to be still so the Lord may heal my deepest wounds…I hear His Whisper, have faith, I love you! ❤️

  • Jennifer Martin

    This was much needed. I get distracted so often that I forget to spend time with the Lord.

  • This is exactly what I needed to hear! Lately I feel like I’ve been avoiding stillness purposefully—because I’m afraid to face the feelings that may arise once I am still.

  • Sarah Ross

    I find my self also too often distracted. I think about how this thing or that thing is pushing its way forward needing to be done now. When in reality, the only thing I need to do is be quiet with God. This is my first study with she reads truth, I am excited to participate!

  • Jessica Mellin

    Marli, your comment makes me smile because I remember hearing my dad wake up early and sneaking downstairs to see him! As an adult, I can see that for both my parents I often interrupted quiet time. But as a child? I saw my parents reading the Bible and that taught me that God’s word is important in our daily lives. Most likely, your littles will remember your Bible open on your lap while you loved and spent time with them, and that is a powerful example.

  • Kristen Burnett

    God put this on today’s day for me. He is reminding me that I need to be still. For Pete’s sake I have it tattooed on my wrist. I sit here awaiting news to see if a little one week old baby boy that lays in a NICU in Detroit is ours. We are trying to adopt another baby and sitting here waiting and trying to be still and let God work is so hard. Be still, my soul. God is my rock and my salvation. He had a plan and I am {trying desperately} to be still. I know His promises are true because I have one of His promises sleeping upstairs. My sweet 4 year old girl who God have us as well. Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

    • Janet C

      Oh Kristen. How sweet, how special, yet how terrifying the waiting and wondering. Praying for you. Please keep us posted on your journey. ❤️

    • Tina

      Kristen. Let me sit and be still a while with you… I reach out from across the pond to take your hand and praise God for His Grace, mercy love and hope…
      Be still my soul… what apt words right now in your situation… but God… He loves.. He loves and He loves some more…
      And He loves you but most importantly He loves the little person you are waiting for and He will do what is His Will for that little person… He who has began a good work will complete it.. trust Him…
      Wishing you well and joy for all that God is doing for you and the little person soon to be yours…
      Love wrapped prayers and hugs Kristen…xxx

    • Dorothy

      Kristen I am praying for you

    • Natasha Reyes

      ❤️❤️❤️ Praying for you and the little one!

  • Emileigh Ward

    Crazy how perfect these things are on the days we need them most. This past year has been the hardest for me and it has taken everything for me to push through, yesterday, I had had it, I’ve never been so exhausted. Thankful for a God that allows me to put all my faith, trust and hope in Him.

    • She Reads Truth

      We’re praying for you Emileigh- for encouragement and comfort. We’re grateful that you’re a part of our community! -Margot, The SRT Team

  • Andrea Barnes

    This! This is exactly what I needed this morning. I am struggling bad at work to the point I dread getting up in the morning to go. I am trying my best to turn it all over to him. This says it all. He will be with me today and He will take care of me in the future as He has in the past.

    • Dorothy

      Andrea I have been in your position where I have dreaded going into work, then one day opportunity came knocking at my door, a new and different job, one that I enjoyed a lot better. Just keep the faith, put the word out, keep an open mind and pray. I will be praying with you.

  • Leslie Hunt

    My heart was designed for something other than this world…. Yes and amen.

    • Marli Neel

      Yes I loved that too. Definitely an amazing reminder to put my discomforts and disappointments into perspective.

    • Rachel Bialoskurski

      Yes sweet sister. This world is not my home I’m simply passing through.

  • Candacejo

    Leave to thy God to order and provide;
    in ev’ry change, He faithful will remain.
    Kari Jobe adds a bridge to the hymn but it is still a beautiful rendition! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq59iE3MhXM

  • Churchmouse

    I wasn’t alway a morning person but God often wakens me early. 4 or 4:30am seems His hour of choice. The house is still dark. I pour myself a cup of coffee and sit in my living room with Bible and journal in hand. “Speak, Lord, for I am listening.” Our conversation begins. The stillness of the house and the stillness of the hour magnifies His voice. My hearing seems more acute. Words aren’t flowery. Thoughts aren’t necessarily profound. Truly, just conversation. It is a precious cherished time. It hasn’t always been so. Previous years with small children and working – God took pity on me and did not wake me so early. He accepted snippets of conversation during that busy season of my life. Those seemingly small bits of time actually were building the habit of just talking to Him throughout the day. I was learning to listen in the midst of the noise and distractions. Sweet sisters, do not lament your limited time – He knows the season you are in. He is present in it all. Just say hello and thank you and help and I’m sorry as you go through your day. They are words of stillness though you are not still. You are building a foundation for when you have more minutes. You are sensitizing yourself to recognizing His voice. No matter the hour He calls, you will hear. You will be still. “Speak, Lord, for I am listening.” And speak He will. You are friends.

    • Candacejo

      This has been my routine the last two years as well. I could never explain the early time as well as you have: The stillness of the house and the stillness of the hour magnifies His voice. And yet, I remember the other season of life when, as you said, I hardly ever had a moment to myself at all, unless I could actually get the bathroom door closed quick enough :) But He is present in EVERY season and He still speaks. ♥

    • Brandi

      Yes! Thank you for this word of encouragement!

    • MNmomma (Heather Nistler)

      Oh man….this struck me hard this morning! Thank you, friend!

    • Amanda

      So beautifully put!

    • Tina

      Ahh. Churchmouse this is awesome… such truth…

      Thank you…
      Sending you love and hugs dear friend across the pond..
      Keep the words coming.. speak Lord for your servant is listening.. Amen.. xx

    • Dorothy

      Churchmouse once again you have spread words of wisdom. My time isn’t early in the morning because I usually work until 10:00 or 11:00 pm and then what to relax for about an hour. I am a nurse, have been for 39 years and wouldn’t trade it for any other job, so my morning usually starts at 9:00 am. But I do remember trying to squeeze in time between my boys and my awkward schedules and my motherly chores. I did go to church every Sunday I could, sometimes my work schedule didn’t allow it. But first and foremost has been and will by my Lord. I have declined in my devotional life at times but come back. As my father told my oldest brother right after my oldest son died, “her faith will carry her through.” My faith has always carried my through and always will carry me through.

    • April

      Thank you Churchmouse for your words of wisdom. My prayer is to be still and listen and pray through out my busy work day and while caring for my family.

  • Valerie Wingate

    This was confirming what the Lord and my body were already telling me. I am always busy and my is always on. I need to be still. I need to be intentional about spending time with my Dad in Heaven as I would with my Earthly one. I need to be still and listen.

  • Ashley Rice

    Is the picture not available for anyone else? Or am I just having phone problems? Just wondering. I usually bible journal the lyrics from the song use that as a the guide.

    I’m so loving this current study!

  • Taylor Martin

    I am trying this new thing where I wake up at 5am every day for two hours of “me time”. The first hour is devoted to tea and devotional. I won’t lie, it’s hard some mornings, but I knew that I needed to be still and allow time with God (something I had been neglecting). The stillness isn’t easy for me, I’d rather be working or doing something, but I have gotten more rest by waking up early. Stillness, I am learning, is about practice.

    • Kay Coughlin

      Taylor, I know this practice will bring great meaning to your life. I do something similar and I miss it when I do not start my day this way. May God bless you in your time of quiet reflection.

    • Ashley Rice

      I am doing the same. I’m a teacher and school starts back in 2 weeks. Trying to get myself in this routine prior to school starting. Getting married Labor Day weekend. So I have a new house, new town, new job… need to find time to be still and reflect on all these changes and allow God to work.

      • Lynne

        Wow, Ashley! That’s a lot of NEW! I’m praying that God will bless you in all of it! Put God first in your marriage and that will be a great start!

    • Kayla Vasquez

      This is a great idea! I’m a teacher as well as planning a wedding and in graduate school. Finding time for myself to reflect on God’s work is just what I’ve been looking for. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Marli Neel

      Preach Taylor. I’ve been setting my alarm to be up before my little ones and it’s like they know I’m wanting to get up at a certain time bc they wake up five minutes before the alarm goes off!! And this isn’t their usual. So I’m fighting for my time. I find myself doing my reading on the couch with one or both in my lap, coffee on the side and a cartoon on. Not ideal but man !

      • Debbie

        You are building a legacy. Your children will see you going to God and His Word. Keep it up! They will know Him because they see that you do! (And God will provide the private moments too.) You’re doing a great thing.

        • Dorothy

          Debbie is right. I can remember what you are going through Marli, I too had that problem when my two boys were young and for a while it paid off. My oldest son before his death was going to be a preacher (and I believe had he lived he would have because he loved the Lord dearly). My youngest until my oldest’s death loved the Lord but since has stayed. He can’t understand why the Lord let his brother die at the age of 18. No matter what my parents, who were devote Christians, and I would tell him it still hasn’t changed his mind. Maybe some day he will come back, I’ve been praying for him.

          • Terri

            I had a similar response when my Dad died when I was 16. He was only 49. When I moved across the country to go to school and was all alone I began my search starting with my Catholic background. I pray God brings your son to a place of openness to Him also.

    • Dorothy

      I know what you mean Taylor, up until about a week ago I had been binge watching TV both morning and night and not doing my devotionals. This had started about a month earlier. Prior to that I regularly read a devotional by Beth Moore nightly and if I had time in the morning I would read Bible Promises for Women. I don’t know what came over me but with this Bible study I am back on track. I am enjoying this Bible study even though I don’t know some of the hymns.

    • Natasha Reyes

      Oh hey, I’ve started doing the same! But with coffee instead of tea. I’m on my second week, and boy, have I felt a shift! The hour I spend with God reading his word, praying and journaling have brought a lightness and clarity to my day. I pray that this habit sticks for both of us!

  • Eliza Bulz

    This is speaking to me as I am in a busy time. If I don’t sit still I will miss out on God and His peace and blessings will be harder to see

  • What a hymn! We can all have hope because of Jesus! This isn’t the end or our home! He is worthy of praise and honor! This song came to mind. It brought tears to my eyes and gave me hope! The one line says that the mountain that’s in front of me will be thrown into the midst of the sea! You can hear the people cheer. Hope you listen and are touched and blessed. https://youtu.be/YNqo4Un2uZI

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