My husband loves me well. Be Still My Soul, in truth, is volume II in the “Love Song” series. How can I validate this declarative statement? Though love’s expression has changed, his face is constant. Marital romance may not always come in the form of Gerbera daisy bouquets and Lindt’s dark chocolate, but in the kneeling down at the feet of your spouse with a basin and towel. And as all wives know, sometimes our husband’s doing the dinner dishes, picking up the kids from baseball practice, or taking our place on the bus for the next supervised fourth grade field trip, can be the greatest aphrodisiac around. Something About Us was a celebration of the sacred act of romance, emphasis on romance. This new project emphasizes the sacred, but retains the romance in that it fulfills the commands of Ephesians 5:25:
“Husband’s, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.”
“Cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” In the early years of our marriage, one of my favorite things to do was to lie down while Michael would sit at the piano and play. The extraordinary power of his music to work out the knots in my soul—was simply put—transcendental. I had expressed a desire for many years for a recording that would capture that power. Without being married to a chronically over-stimulated, peace-pursuing, anti-activity activist, Michael may have indulged his own preferences. And would consequently be releasing an album with soaring power vocals, black gospel tributes and radio-friendly road music. But after saturating in Fernando Ortega’s, The Shadow of Your Wings/Hymns and Sacred Songs (which I have literally worn out over the past year and a half), listening to hours and hours of my frustrations over the frenetic pace of existence, and a total submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit, a fresh and tranquil vision materialized. The end result is a CD that washes away anxiety, cleanses me with truth, and zaps my heart blemishes like Clearasil.
Be Still My Soul, has thoroughly identified itself in the title. I love that in recent years there has been a renewed interest in the Hymns of old. This one in particular has been a lifeline to me in some excruciating circumstances. Take the first verse….
“Be still my soul! The Lord is on thy side; Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide; In every change He faithful will remain. Be still my soul! Thy best, thy heavnly Friend thro thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”
And it just gets better…but you will have to listen. Suffering is a major theme in the New Testament. Not suffering as punishment necessarily, but suffering as an indispensable part of identifying with Christ. I praise the Lord for my painful thorns! They have kept me like a beggar at his feet—utterly dependent on Him for mercy, for grace. It is shocking my inability to sustain any measure of life apart from Him. Jesus is the only source, whether your crises are minute or monumental. Are you running late, shoving a Pop-tart in your mouth, spewing crumbs as you scream, “Where are my keys?” Be still. Are you out of a job wondering how the mortgage will get paid? Be still. Has your husband or wife just confessed to you that he/she is having an emotional affair? Be still. Did you discover that your teen-aged son has been downloading pornography? Be still. Have you been suffering from chronic pain and it has robbed all your joy? Be still. Are you being persecuted for righteousness sake, because you have lovingly confronted sin? Be still.
Be still, in context, is by no means an idle platitude. It is a self-command—a deliberate act of the will to align yourself under the Almighty hand of God. It is leaning on Him not your own understanding. It is running into His fortress! It is climbing into His lap of welcome. It is clinging to his benevolence and grace. It is etching the truth of His word on your heart and mind. It is submitting to his loving discipline. Who knew “being still” could be so active! Like many of God’s truths, that may seem foolish to some, to those of us who are being saved—they make perfect sense.
I am firmly convinced that over these many years what Michael and I have labored through in our marriage has not been unique. Our struggles touch a felt wound, and the cries of the broken body of Christ send a chill down my spine. Whether it is championing the relationship that God has united between man and wife, or to call a harried people back into the sabbath Jesus provides through Be Still My Soul, we are determined to obey.
May this recording of refuge usher you into the presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the only true escape in a sensory- assaulted existence. May it reach the hands of all God’s own choosing. And may it accomplish the rest our souls so desperately need.
Sandra Heidi Anne