Oft in Sorrow

This song came up again in the course of my study this morning and I thought I just had to share it.

The poem was written by Henry Kirk White sometime around 1805. Henry White was born in 1785, his father, a butcher in Nottingham, and mother who ran a girl’s boarding school. From an early age Henry excelled in his studies, learning Latin and Greek, and was a published and awarded poet at the age of 15. Through his friend, R.W. Almond, White came to faith in Jesus, and planned to study for ministry. He attended St. John’s College in Cambridge, but soon became ill and died at the age of 22 on Oct. 19, 1806 before he could graduate. Shortly after his death, the manuscript for his poem “Oft in Sorrow” was found and by 1812 had been adapted as a hymn for the church.

The song is a reminder that often the Christian’s journey in this world is filled with tears, sorrow, pain and loss. We are called to join the war, to walk the walk, to take up the cross. Often we are met with failures; our own and those around us. The song is one of encouragement, that the strength for the journey, the victory in battle, the triumph in the end is not ours, but the Lord’s; and because it is His it is sure and certain. “Onward then to battle move; more than conquerors ye shall prove: though opposed by many a foe, Christian soldiers, onward go.”

Here is his poem, and there is a video of the hymn as well.

Oft in danger, oft in woe,
Onward, Christians, onward go,
Fight the fight, maintain the strife,
Strengthened with the Bread of Life.

Onward, Christians, onward go,
Join the war, and face the foe;
Faint not, much doth yet remain;
Dreary is the long campaign.

Shrink not, Christians: will ye yield?
Will ye quit the painful field?
Will ye flee in danger’s hour?
Know ye not your Captain’s pow’r?

Let your drooping hearts be glad;
March, in heav’nly armor clad;
Fight, nor think the battle long;
Vict’ry soon shall tune your song.

Let not sorrow dim your eye,
Soon shall ev’ry tear be dry;
Let not woe your course impede,
Great your strength, if great your need.

Onward then to battle move;
More than conqu’rors ye shall prove:
Though opposed by many a foe,
Christian soldiers, onward go.

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

“Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”

(Psalm 62:8)

I am feeling a little under the weather today (for the curious, here’s a link to about the origin of that phrase).  Not only have the allergens of NW Iowa finally caught up to me, making my head feel like a bowling ball spinning down the lane, but my stomach is rebelling today too.  I am in mourning, for it has been made perfectly clear that I can no longer eat Pizza without paying an extreme price.  All of that being said, writing an article to encourage and cheer my fellow disciples of Christ seems near impossible.

I thought what I’d do instead, is share what I turn to in times like these.  I’ve never read Chicken Soup for the Soul, not that I have anything against that kind of devotional material – I’ve just never needed it.  No.  It’s not that I’ve never needed the soothing, healing words of encouragement.  I just get it from another source.  For example, today the Soul Salving Soup is found in the old hymns of the church.

Dear refuge of my weary soul,
On Thee, when sorrows rise
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies
To Thee I tell each rising grief,
For Thou alone canst heal
Thy Word can bring a sweet relief,
For every pain I feel

But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail,
I fear to call Thee mine
The springs of comfort seem to fail,
And all my hopes decline
Yet gracious God, where shall I flee?
Thou art my only trust
And still my soul would cleave to Thee
Though prostrate in the dust

Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,
And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace,
Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of sovereign grace,
Attends the mourner’s prayer
Oh may I ever find access,
To breathe my sorrows there

Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet,
Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet.

© Words: Anne Steele; Public Domain

What a great reminder.  When the sorrows rise, when the troubles roll, when doubts prevail and the worldly comforts fail, we can cast our hope, place our trust, cleave our soul upon the only refuge of our weary souls.  His Word brings sweet relief from every pain, the ear of sovereign grace attends the mourner’s prayer, His mercy seat is open still.

I hope you are well today.  But well or weary, may you cast your soul upon the one true source of hope, the everlasting fountain of joy, the eternal arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

SDG

P.S. – Here’s a link to the YouTube video of the Hymn