Notes from the Bench – David Warfield, Director of Music Ministries

So, today is March 16 – the deadline for my Anchor article and I’m still feeling the loss of yesterday. You see, yesterday was one of very few Sunday’s I’ve had off in my years of being a church musician and it was strange. Not so much that I was off … but church was CLOSED. Our Pastor and I exchanged those feelings early yesterday morning when we would normally have been getting ready for church.

I have MANY favorite hymns! That shouldn’t surprise anyone. There are hymns of praise, hymns of courage, hymns of consolation and hymns that carry us through times of challenge and are a source of hope. Yesterday, as I pondered what to write for the Anchor, I was reminded of the opening hymn from our last worship service together. If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee…

First the story behind the hymn:

When Georg Neumark (1621-1681) was 18 years old, he was traveling across Germany to school when he was robbed of all his personal possessions and money. He spent the next two years looking for work amidst the economic hardships of the Thirty Years War. Finally, at the age of 20, he found employment as a tutor for a judge in Kiel. He was apparently so relieved and grateful that later that night he wrote this text of trust and gratitude, saying, “This good
fortune, which came so suddenly and, as it were, from heaven, so rejoiced my heart that I wrote my hymn ‘WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT’ to the glory of my God on that first day”. Neumark knew of the trials we face every day – whether they are economic, emotional, spiritual, or physical. And he knew that, even if it is not how we would have first asked or imagined, God provides for His people. During those two years of living in the unknown, Neumark knew one thing: God was always with him. Later in his life he again lost all his possessions to a fire, but he had these words of trust to say in the face of adversity. And in the face of our own hardships, we sing these words of trust, knowing that God is with us.

And now, the text:

If you but trust in God to guide you and place your confidence in Him,
you’ll find Him always there beside you to give you hope and strength within;
for those who trust God’s changeless love build on the rock that will not move.
Only be still and wait His pleasure in cheerful hope with heart content.
He fills your needs to fullest measure with what discerning love has sent;
doubt not our inmost wants are known to Him who chose us for His own.
Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving, offer your service faithfully,
and trust His word; though undeserving, you’ll find His promise true to be.
God never will forsake in need the soul that trusts in Him indeed.

God be with you – till we meet again.