All now mysterious shall be bright

I photographed this sculpture inside Cologne Cathedral, May 2007.

I photographed this sculpture inside Cologne Cathedral, May 2007.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below. — 
Katharina von Schlegel

In seventh grade, I played clarinet in our school band, and we learned to play what became one of my favorite pieces of classical music, the beautiful theme from Finlandia by Sibelius, to which these lyrics were written. I’ve always thought the hymn comforting, particularly for one such as I, who often has to remind myself to be still amid the crises and anxieties of life.

One Saturday night in September 2012, the song became especially dear to me, as I sang it to myself while driving alone at 11:00 pm on the dark and unfamiliar roads to the hospital. Jeff was in emergency surgery for appendicitis, after having called me with the devastating news that they had found tumors on his liver and suspected metastatic cancer. I was beside myself with shock and fear, but singing these words gave me an anchor in the storm, and somehow helped me get to the hospital safely despite being far too upset to drive.

Perhaps my distraught emotions that Saturday night were not so very different from those felt by the friends and loved ones of Jesus on that Saturday nearly two thousand years ago. More than once I’ve heard it said of them, “Sunday was coming, but they didn’t know it yet.” The shock, grief and uncertainty of what might lie ahead must have been overpowering. Did they, like me, cling to a hope that felt more desperate than logical?

I’m sure most everyone reading this has faced something similar, a time of great sorrow, fear and inner turmoil. Perhaps some are facing such a dark night of the soul right now.  If so, my prayer for you is that you will find the balm of peace, and rays of hope that joy will come in the morning.

 Last year on the day before Easter:

Divine surprise

This post was first published on the day before Easter seven years ago. The post that appeared on April 3, 2014, will be re-posted on April19. The dates were adjust to allow the posts from Easter weekend 2014 to appear on Easter weekend 2021. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Dear Julia, thank you for this blog entry.
    I can’t find words appropriate for response to the video you linked.
    Finlandia is certainly powerful. It was the first hymn “tune” I could name. It was because of Finlandia that I started to explore the index of tunes located at the back of the Methodist hymnal, which identifies all of the hymns that use each particular tune. It’s definitely one of my favorites to this day.
    And on top of that, it’s coupled with “Be Still, my Soul.” Wow.

  2. Judy from Pennsylvania

    It seems to me that life gives most of us several unexpected blows that cause us to stagger and sometimes even fall during our long walk through the years. Yet we find or are given the strength to keep going. Time rolls on and takes us with it. I’m reminded of the verse in Ecclesiastes 4:4, “a time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing.” Somehow we make it through the hard places and find sources of joy again.

    For all that you’ve been through, you still care about us, your readers. You still share your hard earned insights and sources of inspiration that give us a boost or even a smile. I appreciate your being here for us and I hope you have a blessed Easter!

    • Judy, thank you so much for this comment, and I’m sorry it took me so long to get to it. We need to catch up on all that has been happening with each other. Maybe it’s about time I planned another quick visit to Lancaster County again, perhaps with my sister, or solo this time. I could use a dose of the very special serenity of the area, and that lovely B&B I discovered nearby is a perfect place for us to stay. I’ll let you know if I’m headed your way anytime soon. But it won’t be before June. Meanwhile you and Stew are always welcome here, and I have plenty of room. More later when we are able to chat! 😀

  3. MaryAnn

    Julia, Many times in my life, I’ve been drawn back from feeling helpless to hope in our Lord; when a song bubbles up to soothe. One that refreshes immediately, from the depths of my memory. So glad to hear God lead you safely to the hospital that sad night!

    • So am I. ❤

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