Music is so versatile. Think of any emotion or movement that you want to describe better than words can There is always a sound or harmony of sounds that will match it exactly. Moving from one end of the spectrum to the other, today we transition from the fired-up rally cry to stand for a biblical cause to the quiet whisper-call for biblical rest.
Keith & Kristyn Getty are yet another husband/wife music duo that I am sure many of you have heard before. They are best known for writing the very popular worship song, “In Christ Alone.” But what sets them apart is that they are one of the few groups out there today trying to make NEW, original hymns – songs meant to capture the rich truth of the Christian faith, but set to modern music. Their success is warranted and their philosophy is admirable:
“There are two reasons we write modern hymns,” explains Keith. “First, it’s to help teach the faith. What we sing affects how we think, how we feel and ultimately how we live, so it’s so important that we sing the whole scope of truth the Bible has given us. The second reason is to try to create a more timeless musical style that every generation can sing, a style that relates to the past and the future.”
The song, “Still My Soul Be Still” isn’t entirely original, since it is inspired by the old Katharina von Schlegel hymn: “Be Still My Soul” (1752). The spirit of both songs is an encouragement to believers to cling to the unique and unending peace of Christ. The Getty’s song pairs Kristyn’s gentle, angelic voice with Keith’s masterful orchestration. The result is a marriage between good artistry and the ageless message of being still within God’s rest:
Still my soul be still and do not fear
Though winds of change may rage tomorrow
God is at your side
No longer dread the fires of unexpected sorrow
God You are my God, and I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace renew a steadfast spirit within me
To rest in You alone
Still my soul be still do not be moved
By lesser lights and fleeting shadows
Hold onto His ways with shield of faith
Against temptations flaming arrows
Still my soul be still do not forsake
The Truth you learned in the beginning
Wait upon the Lord
And hope will rise as stars appear when day is dimming
My favorite part of these lyrics are the pictures from nature that illustrate the magnitude of God’s rest. Dwelling upon the rages of fierce wind and roaring fire can be terrifying, but God considers these to be “lesser lights and fleeting shadows” compared to His greater offer of supreme shelter and safety. While we are still dwelling in this land of fearful night and doom, we must look up and remember that “hope will rise as stars appear.”
Beyond physical anecdotes in nature, the Scriptures offer us a solid invitation to the bountiful Rest that God offers through Jesus Christ. Listen to these excerpts from Hebrews 4: “…the promise of entering His rest still stands…For we who have believed enter that rest…Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God…Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
These pieces of biblical text do not unpack the entire meaning of Hebrews 4, but rather isolates the language of God’s rest. The idea is to help us better see that Christian peace is different and better because it is based on promises, the finished work of God and the orientation of God’s grace towards sinners. We don’t deserve rest and we don’t live in a world that allows us to enjoy complete rest, but our hope is strong and our confidence is based on the sure character of God in Christ.
Therefore, we can enter His rest and hold fast to His grace. We are called to strive for rest (which sounds like an oxymoron) because God does give us a measure of Heaven and a taste of future full rest in our hearts as God’s Spirit dwells within us today – activating God’s truths from the inside out. God’s rest is tremendously useful and vital towards every aspect of our lives and no other religion offers anything like it.
Today, let this song (and it’s truth) be a balm over your anxiety and a soothing agent of trust in God over your doubts and fears. Still. My soul be still.