by Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) and translated by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)
O Faithful God! O, pitying Heart,
Whose goodness hath no end;
I know this cross with all its smart
Thy hand alone doth send!
Yes, Lord, I know it is Thy love,
Not wrath or hatred bids me prove
The load ‘neath which I bend.
‘Twas ever wont with Thee, my God,
To chasten oft a son;
He whom Thou lovest feels Thy rod,
Tears flow ere joy is won;
Thou leadest us through darkest pain
Back to the joyous light again
Thus ever hast Thou done.
For e’en the Son Thou most dost love
Here trod the path of woe;
Ere He might reach His throne above
He bore the cross below;
Through anguish, scorn, and poverty,
Through bitterest death He pass’d, that we
The bliss of heaven might know.
And if the pure and sinless One
Could thus to sorrow bow,
Shall I who so much ill have done
Resist the cross? O Thou
In whom doth perfect patience shine,
Whoe’er would fain be counted Thine
Must wear Thy likeness now.
Yet, Father, each fresh aching heart
Will question in its woe,
If Thou canst send such bitter smart
And yet no anger know?
How long the hours beneath the cross!
How hard to learn that love and loss
From one sole Fountain flow!
But what I cannot, Thou true Good,
Oh work Thyself in me;
Nor ever let my trials’ flood
O’erwhelm my faith in Thee;
Keep me from every murmur, Lord,
And make me steadfast in Thy word,
My tower of refuge be!
If I am weak, Thy tender care
Shall bid me fear no ill;
With ceaseless cries and tears and prayer
The long sad hours I’ll fill;
The heart that yet can hope and trust,
And cry to Thee, though from the dust,
Is all unconquer’d still!
O Thou who diedst to give us life,
Full well to Thee is known
The cross, and all the inner strife
Of those who weep alone,
And ‘neath their burden well-nigh faint;
The aching heart’s unspoken plaint
Finds echo in Thine own.
Ah Christ, do Thou within me speak,
For Thou canst comfort best;
The tower and stronghold of the weak,
The weary wanderer’s rest,
Our shadow in the noon-day hours,
And when the tempest round us lowers,
Our shelter safe and blest!
O Holy Spirit, sent of God,
In whom all gladness lies,
Refresh my soul, lift off her load,
From Thee all sadness flies;
Thou know’st the glories yet to come,
The joy, the solace, of that home,
Where we shall one day rise.
There in Thy presence we shall see
Glories beyond our ken;
The cross known here to none but Thee
Shall turn to gladness then;
There smiles for all our tears are given,
And for our woes the joys of heaven
Lord, I believe! Amen!