If you but trust in God to guide you, a song I’ve sung with thee’s and thou’s, and also with the more current you’s. This song calls for us to trust in God faithfully. Sometimes we need to be patient within that trust, waiting for God to act. We are called to follow God unsweringly, regardless of the situations he leads us into.
If thou but trust in God to guide thee,
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He’ll give thee strength, whate’er betide thee.
And bear thee through the evil days.
Who trusts in God’s unchanging love
Builds on the rock that nought can move.
What can these anxious cares avail thee,
These never-ceasing moans and sighs?
What can it help, if thou bewail thee,
O’er each dark moment as it flies?
Our cross and trials do but press
The heavier for our bitterness.
Only be still and wait His leisure
In cheerful hope, with heart content
To take whate’er thy Father’s pleasure
And all-deserving love hath sent,
Nor doubt our inmost wants are known
To Him Who chose us for His own.
He knows the time for joy, and truly
Will send it when He sees it meet.
When He hath tried and purged thee throughly
And finds thee free from all deceit;
He comes to thee all unaware
And makes thee own His loving care.
Nor think amid the heat of trial
That God hath cast thee off unheard,
That He whose hopes meet no denial
Must surely be of God preferred;
Time passes and much change doth bring,
And sets a bound to everything.
All are alike before the Highest.
‘Tis easy to our God, we know.
To raise thee up, though low thou liest,
To make the rich man poor and low;
True wonders still by Him are wrought
Who setteth up and brings to nought.
Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving.
So do thine own part faithfully.
And trust His word ; though undeserving,
Thou yet shalt find it true for thee —
God never yet forsook at need
The soul that trusted Him indeed.
History and Author
Georg Neumark was a German poet and a composer of hymns. This is his most famous song and was originally entitled Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten. His studies in law got interrupted when he needed to flee due to war. He was able to finish, and even as he studied for the law he wrote more poetry and hymns.
Twice he lost nearly all his possessions, once through robbery, the second time through fire. In fact, after he lost all his possessions the first time and found himself in dire straits, he finally landed a job as a tutor. This was when he wrote “If you but trust in God to Guide You”.
Overtime his fortunes picked up and he was introduced to people who could help his career. He died at age 60, in 1681.
Did you notice? Both youtube videos contained different verses. It was actually a bit of a challenge to choose lyrics because the hymn that I grew up with, was not in the preponderance of versions I found. The second video actually contained a couple of the verses that I know.
It’s one of the beauties of music right? Take a tune, find words that fit the tune and sing praise to God. It’s also part of the frustration of singing songs out of different songbooks. Different editors keep different verses. And hymns get updated to current language sometimes changing word order and/or usage as well.
I know how much this frustrated me and I’m only in my mid-50’s. I wonder what it does to our faithful seniors when we change the words to the hymns they have sung for years? Do we even consider them when we so blithely change songs to fit modern sensibilities? I find it regretful.