Paul Gerhardt Alone With God

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 4
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. But the ruler of the country in which he lived did not like that kind of preaching, so he sent word to this minister, that he must either give up preaching
in that way, or go away out of the country. Paul Gerhardt sent back this message: " That it would be very hard for him to leave his country and his friends, and go with his family among strangers, where they would have nothing to live on; but, as for preaching anything else than what the Bible taught him, he would rather die than do that." So he had to go into banishment, with his wife and little children.
At the end of their first day's journey they came into a wood and rested for the night at a little inn they found there. The little children were crying with hunger, and clinging to their mother; but she had no food to give, and no money to buy any with. She had tried to keep up all day, but now she began to cry too. This made Paul Gerhardt have a very heavy heart. He left his family, and went alone into the dark wood to pray. It was a time of great trouble to him, and there was no one to whom he could go for help but to God.
While he was alone in the wood praying, a text of Scripture came into his mind. It seemed to him 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 him great comfort. "Yes," he said to himself, "though I am banished from my home and friends, and do not know where to take my wife and children for a shelter, yet God my God, sees me in this dark wood. He knows all about us. Now is the time to trust in Him. He will show me 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 he walked up and down under the trees, and made some verses on it, which were afterward written down and printed. Each verse begins with two or three words of the text, so that, when you have read through the hymn, you get the whole text. Perhaps you would like to read the verses before we finish the story.
Here they are: -
Commit thy way, O 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 making these verses he went into the house. He told his wife about the sweet text that had come into his mind, and repeated to her the verses he had made upon it. She soon dried up her tears, and began to be as cheerful and trustful as her husband was. The children were in bed and asleep. The husband and wife knelt down together and prayed, and resolved to "commit their way unto the Lord," and leave it for Him to " bring to pass " as He saw fit. Then, after writing down his sweet verses, they went to bed.
Before they had fallen asleep a great noise was heard at the door of the inn. It seemed as though some important person was knocking there. When the landlord opened the door, a man on horseback was standing before it. He 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. 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." So the landlord went upstairs and told Gerhardt, who came down to see what all this could be about.
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 intended banishment of himself and family, and had written to him saying, " Come into my country, Paul Gerhardt, and you shall have a house, and home, and plenty to live on, and liberty to preach the Gospel just as much as you please."
Then he went up and told his wife, and they praised God for His love; and the next morning they started off with glad hearts and cheerful feet to their new home.