The painful sting of thorns is a part of this existence—even when working with the stunning beauty of roses. There is no way around it.
The heaving and crashing of waves affect the most sure of sea-going vessels and there’s not a technique for dismissing them. You can’t experience the wonder of the open ocean without being affected by them.
I have found myself captivated with the haunting simplicity of a particular hymn. The melody was crafted by Jean Sibelius in his tribute to his homeland in a piece so appropriately identified as a tone poem called Finlandia.
The lyrics predate the music and were translated from German (written 1752) into English by Jane Borthwick in 1855.
This hymn is a discipline of self-talk. It is the urging of the mind to return to the soul-deep truth from which life so easily distracts.
I have been particularly enamored with Jadon Lavik’s reverent and hope-dripping rendition that I encourage you to pause and listen and meditate upon here:
Did you see those powerful words?
Be still, my soul, the Lord is on your side
Bear patiently the cross of guilt and pain
Leave to your God to order and provide
In every change God faithful will remain
Be still, my soul, your best, your heavenly friend
Through thorns and waves leads to a joyful end
Be still my soul
It’s so rich—like cheesecake that demands you slow down and take small bites. The author reminds herself that God is on her side, that guilt and pain are a part of life in a broken world through which we must simply endure.
The urging to leave to God the burden of directing and providing because we know that what God requires God always provides. Because we know this, we can trust His faithfulness no matter what changes roll through our lives.
The assertion that God is, indeed, my best and heavenly friend is a realization to which many believers never acquiesce. But the testimony of Scripture bears out the assurance that, through the thorns of a fallen world and the waves of a sin-cursed journey, He will surely lead to the joyful end that He has promised.
It doesn’t make it not hurt. It doesn’t mean the journey will be smooth and easy and care-free.
It does mean that the destination is sure.
And in that we find rest. In that we can stop and just be still.
Be still, my soul.