Note: One of the wonderful things about enduring hymns is their ability to speak strongly and deeply about the journey of faith. The more I share hymns on Wednesdays, the more I come to the realization that, many times, my words simply distract from the impact of these hymns. Today I present simply a hymn text, one that ought to stand on its own. It is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful hymn texts ever penned, and any additional writing on my part would simply dilute the power of this hymn.
Dear refuge of my weary soul,
On thee when sorrows rise;
On thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies.
While hope revives, though pressed with fears,
And I can say, “My God,”
Beneath thy feet I spread my cares,
And pour my woes abroad.
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;
O 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.
–Anne Steele (1717-1778)