A Hymn for the Suffering by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of my heroes. He was a brilliant and gentle follower of Jesus. He formed an underground seminary in Nazi Germany and taught people the loving Way of Jesus. He stood fast and resisted the pressure to go along with the churches that were under the influence of Hitler’s regime.

(I tried to no avail to have on of my children’s middle name be Dietrich in his honor but it failed to meet Keri’s two criteria — biblical or Scandinavian. Haha.)

Well, he was martyred 70 years ago last month at the age of 39. But I just discovered that he wrote a hymn in the concentration camp shortly before his death. The lyrics and powerful and worthy of reflection.

By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered,
And confidently waiting come what may,
we know that God is with us night and morning,
and never fails to greet us each new day.

Yet is this heart by its old foe tormented,
Still evil days bring burdens hard to bear;
Oh, give our frightened souls the sure salvation
for which, O Lord, You taught us to prepare.

And when this cup You give is filled to brimming
With bitter suffering, hard to understand,
we take it thankfully and without trembling,
out of so good and so beloved a hand.

Yet when again in this same world You give us
The joy we had, the brightness of Your Sun,
we shall remember all the days we lived through,
and our whole life shall then be Yours alone.

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