If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee - Georg Neumark

In 1641 twenty-year-old Georg Neumark (1621-1681) struck out from his home in the Thuringian forests, journeying to the University of Konigsberg where he intended to study law. With him was his life savings - money he had earned by hard work and carefully saved to fund his education. Though he traveled in a group of merchants for protection, roving thieves were undeterred and robbed the company. Georg lost all his possessions except "his prayer book and a few hidden coins." With nothing left to cover tuition, he slowly walked toward home, unsuccessfully applying for work as he went. Winter found him cold, hungry, and without prospects. Entering the village of Kiel and again turned away for employment, the seemingly friendless young man was running out of options when pastor Nicolaus Becker took him in.

     Warmed and filled, Georg was much more comfortable, but his career in law still seemed unlikely without a job. Suddenly a tutor position became available in the local judge's home, and he was hired immediately at the pastor's recommendation. Awestruck by the sudden change of circumstance, he sat down that day and wrote "If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee" as a hymn of consolation to others facing dire situations. The job enabled him to replenish his savings, and the following year (1643), he enrolled at last in the University of Konigsberg. In a stunning double blow not long after, he again lost all when a fire destroyed his possessions. With unwavering faith he continued, already knowing God's provision and providence.

If thou but suffer God to guide thee,
And hope in him through all thy ways,
He'll give thee strength whate'er betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days.
Who trust in God's unchanging love
Builds on the rock that nought can move.
What can these anxious cares avail thee,
These neverceasing moans and sighs?
What can it help, if thou bewail thee
O'er each dark moment as it flies?
Our cross and trials do but press
The heavier for our bitterness.
Only be still and wait his leisure
In cheerful hope, with heart content
To take whate'er thy Father's pleasure
And alldeserving love hath sent,
Nor doubt our inmost wants are known
To him who chose us for his own.
He knows the time for joy, and truly
Will send it when he sees it meet,
When he has tried and purged thee throughly
And finds thee free from all deceit,
He comes to thee all unaware
And makes thee own his loving care.
Nor think amid the heat of trial
That God hath cast thee off unheard,
That he whose hopes meet no denial
Must surely be of God preferred;
Time passes and much change doth bring,
And sets a bound to ev'rything.
All are alike before the Highest.
' Tis easy to our God, we know,
To raise thee up though low thou liest,
To make the rich man poor and low;
True wonders still by him are wrought
Who setteth up and brings to nought.
Sing, pray, and keep his ways unswerving,
So do thine own part faithfully,
And trust his word, though undeserving,
Thou yet shalt find it true for thee;
God never yet forsook at need
The soul that trusted him indeed.



All rights reserved. Without the express written permission of the publisher, this publication may not be reproduced or transmitted, whether in whole or in part, in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopy, storage retrieval system, recording, or any other.

Back to blog

1 comment

I never heard of this song before. Thank you for sharing it. It’s a keeper!

Connie H

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.