Summary: God is the refuge of our soul.

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Psalms 46:1-3 KJV God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. [2] Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; [3] Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.


A. Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

-This past week during some of the normal private devotional time, I happened to run across several old hymns that I was not familiar with. As I listened to them, their words were so incredibly compelling that I started seeking out the story behind some of the writers. One particular hymn was written by Anne Steele. I found an excellent biography about her written by Kevin Twitt, who is one of the leaders of a band called Indelible Grace.

Anne Steele lived in England from 1716-1778. She was born in Broughton, where her father, who was a timber merchant, preached for 60 years – most of the time without receiving a salary! She actually lived only 15 miles from the great Isaac Watts, although it is unlikely that they ever met. Her mother died when she was 3 years old, and when she was 19 she suffered a severe injury to her hip, rendering her an invalid for most of her life. When she was 21, she was engaged to Robert Elscourt, but the day before the wedding he was drowned while swimming in a river! She never was married, and assisted her father in his pastoral labors for her whole life, although for the last 9 years of her life, she was never able to leave her bed. Still in spite of all of this her disposition was described as “cheerful and helpful” and her life as one of “unaffected humility, warm benevolence, sincere friendship, and genuine devotion.”

She wrote 144 hymns, as well as 34 psalms in verse. Amos Wells (writing in 1914) says she was “the first woman writer whose hymns came to be largely used in hymn-books.” He describes her hymns as “very simple, clear, and beautiful, breathing a spirit of Christian faith and resignation.” 200 years ago her hymns were very popular – in 1808, a church in Boston published its own hymnal, and out of the 152 hymns in the volume, 59 were by Anne Steele! Henry Burrage says that over 100 of her hymns can be found in “modern” hymnals – more than any other hymn writer! He says that “her hymns, written to lighten her own burdens, give beautiful expression to the sweetness of her Christian character, and the depth of her Christian experience.” Her hymns are so rich, and yet easily understood even by those living 250 years after her death!

-The hymn that so struck me was “Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul.”

1. Dear refuge of my weary soul,

On Thee, when sorrows rise

On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,

My fainting hope relies

To Thee I tell each rising grief,

For Thou alone canst heal

Thy Word can bring a sweet relief,

For every pain I feel

2. But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail,

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