“Be Still My Soul” is a wonderful hymn that we sang last Sunday. It is based on the words of Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Little is known about the author of this glorious hymn. Her name was Kathrina von Schlegel and she was from Germany. She was born Oct. 22, 1697, a century after Martin Luther’s reformation. She became what we can call a Lutheran nun, member of a women’s seminary, and she was part, also, of the Pietist Movement – an emphasis of personal faith – that brought new life to the church in Germany. We do not know when she died.
She wrote several hymns, but this is the only one we are aware of. It is a hymn full of assurance in God, acknowledging that God is in control of everything. Remember the words of the second stanza,
“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.”
The English version of this hymn came through the work of Jane Borthwick, a lady from Scotland.
The melody is the composition of Jean Sibelius, a Finnish composer, who wrote a symphony called “Finlandia” in 1865 and the first time this composition was used as a hymn was in 1927. It matched perfectly to Kathrina’s words.
A verse that is no longer in our hymnals is the third one from the original poem of Kathrina.
“Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale 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.”
Please, use this hymn very often, as a prayer, as a devotional, and know that God is our God.
In His service,