Alone With God

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 5
Many years ago there was a great preacher whose name was Paul Gerhardt. He was an earnest Christian man, and loved to preach about the Lord Jesus. The ruler of the country, however, did not like that kind of preaching, so he said that Gerhardt must either give up preaching or be banished from the country. Paul Gerhardt replied that it would be very hard for him to leave his country and friends, and to go with his family among strangers where they would have nothing to live on, but he would rather die than preach anything else than what the Bible taught. As a consequence, he and his little family were banished.
At the end of their first day's journey, they rested for the night at a little inn. The little children were crying with hunger and clinging to their mother, but she had no food to give them and no money with which to buy any. She had tried to keep up her spirits all day, but now she began to cry too. This made Paul Gerhardt very heavyhearted. He left his family and went alone into the dark woods to pray. In this time of great trouble there was no one to whom he could go for help but to God.
While alone praying, a text of Scripture came to mind. It seemed as if an angel had come and whispered it to him: "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass." Psa. 37:55Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:5).
This gave great comfort. "Yes," he thought, "though I am banished from my home and friends, and do not know where to take my wife and children for shelter, yet God, my God, sees me in this dark woods. He knows all about us. Now is the time to trust in Him. He will see us through; He will 'bring it to pass.'"
He was so happy in thinking on this text, and so thankful to God for bringing it into his mind, that as he walked among the trees, he composed a poem about it. Each verse of the poem begins with two or three words of the text, so that when you have read through the hymn, you get the whole text. The poem reads:
Commit thy way, 0 weeper-
The cares that fret thy soul-
To thine Almighty Keeper,
Who makes the world to roll.
Unto the Lord, who quieteth
The wind, and cloud, and sea;
Oh! doubt not He provideth
A footpath, too, for thee.
Trust also, for 'tis useless
To murmur and forbode;
The Almighty arm is doubtless
Full strong to bear thy load.
In Him hide all thy sorrow
And bid thy fears good night;
He'll make a glorious morrow
To crown thy head with light.
And He shall bring it near thee,
The good thou long hast sought;
Though now it seems to fly thee,
Thou shalt, ere long, be brought.
To pass from grief to gladness,
From night to clearest day,
When doubts, and fears, and sadness
Shall all have passed away.
When he had finished composing these verses, he returned to the inn and told his wife about the precious text that had come into his mind and the poem that he had composed about it. She soon dried her tears and began to be as cheerful and as trustful as her husband. The husband and wife knelt down together and prayed, resolving to commit their "way unto the Lord," and leave it for Him to "bring it to pass" as He saw fit. Then, after writing down his poem, they went to bed.
Before they fell asleep, a great noise was heard at the door of the inn. When the landlord opened the door, a man on horseback was standing before it and said in a loud voice:
"I am a messenger. I come from Duke Christian, and I am trying to find a minister named Paul Gerhardt, who has just been banished. Do you know whether he has passed this way?"
"Paul Gerhardt?" said the landlord, "Why, yes, he is in this house, but he has just gone to bed and I can't disturb him now."
"But you must," said the messenger. "I have a very important letter for him from the Duke; let me see him at once." The landlord immediately went upstairs and told Gerhardt, who came down to see the messenger.
The messenger handed him a large, sealed letter and, to his great joy, he read in it that the good Duke Christian had heard of the banishment of himself and his family and had written to him saying, "Come into my country, Paul Gerhardt, and you shall have a home, plenty to live on and liberty to preach the gospel just as much as you please."
Gerhardt went up and told his wife, and together they praised God for His love. The next morning the whole family started off with glad hearts and cheerful feet toward their new home.