How Gentle God’s Commands

1. How gentle God’s commands!
How kind his precepts are!
Come, cast your burdens on the Lord
And trust his constant care.

2. Beneath his watchful eye,
His Saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears all nature up
Shall guard his children well.

3. Why should this anxious load
Press down your weary mind?
Haste to your Heav’nly Father’s throne
And sweet refreshment find.

4. His goodness stands approved,
Unchanged from day to day;
I’ll drop my burden at his feet
And bear a song away.

Text: Philip Doddridge, 1702-1751 Music: Hans Georg Nägeli, 1773-1836; arr. by Lowell Mason, 1792-1872

We sang this beautiful hymn in Sacrament Meeting today.  (Actually it was Fast and Testimony meeting since next week will be General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)

This hymn has a lot of meaning for me:

  • First and foremost, the words are full of meaning and give hope and cheer to the struggling, the disillusioned, the downtrodden, even the sinner.  We are all human beings and suffer pain and affliction and adversity of all kinds.  But they don’t have to drag us down!  We can turn to God, our Heavenly Father.  He stands ready to help and bless us.  He can strengthen and sustain us.  He guides and directs us so that we can overcome all things.  He comforts us and lifts us up.
  • When I was young, learning to play the piano, this was the first hymn that my teacher had me learn to play.  I was not familiar with it at that time.  Even now we don’t sing it very often in church.  But with its comforting words and simple melody, it fast became a beloved hymn, providing inspiration and peace throughout my tumultuous teenage years.
  • Not too many years ago I was given the calling at church to be the music leader in Sacrament meeting.  I did not have much experience leading, usually I was the one playing the piano or even during my mission a small pump organ.  As I looked at the music that had already been selected by the previous music leader, I found I was totally unfamiliar with the closing song.  I was nervous anyway about leading such a large congregation, so I chose to change the hymn.  But what to choose?  “How Gentle God’s Commands” came to mind.  Perfect!  I knew it so could concentrate on leading it correctly, the organist did well, the congregation was not so familiar with it but struggled through it.  Later one member of the congregation mentioned this experience when she spoke in church.  She was unfamiliar with this hymn, but it touched her heart and inspired her that day.

Enjoy this meaningful hymn!

If you’d like to hear it, go to https://www.lds.org/music/library/hymns/how-gentle-gods-commands?lang=eng.

 

 

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