If thou but suffer God to guide theeAuthor: Georg Neumark (1641); Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1855, 1863)
Published in 142 hymnals
Printable scores: PDF, SibeliusAudio files: MIDI
1 If you but trust in God to guide you
and place your confidence in him,
you'll find him always there beside you
to give you hope and strength within;
for those who trust God's changeless love
build on the rock that will not move.
2 Only be still and wait his pleasure
in cheerful hope with heart content.
He fills your needs to fullest measure
with what discerning love has sent;
doubt not our inmost wants are known
to him who chose us for his own.
3 Sing, pray, and keep his ways unswerving,
offer your service faithfully,
and trust his word; though undeserving,
you'll find his promise true to be.
God never will forsake in need
the soul that trusts in him indeed.
Psalter Hymnal, (Gray), 1987
|First Line:||If thou but suffer God to guide thee|
|Title:||If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee|
|German Title:||Wer nur den lieben Gott|
|Author:||Georg Neumark (1641)|
|Translator:||Catherine Winkworth (1855, 1863)|
|Liturgical Use:||Scripture Songs|
|Article:||"If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee": The Journey of a Lutheran Hymn by Lawrence L. Lohr (from "The Hymn")|
all st. = Ps. 55:22, Ps. 56:11, Prov. 3:5-6
Georg Neumark (b. Langensalza, Thuringia, Germany, 1621; d. Weimar, Germany, 1681) lived during the time of the Thirty Years' War, when social and economic conditions were deplorable. He had personal trials as well. On his way to Konigsberg to study at the university, traveling in the comparative safety of a group of merchants, he was robbed of nearly all his possessions. During the next two years he spent much of his time looking for employment. He finally secured a tutoring position in Kiel. When he had saved enough money, he returned to the University of Konigsberg and studied there for five years. In Konigsberg he again lost all his belongings, this time in a fire. Despite his personal suffering Neumark wrote many hymns in which he expressed his absolute trust in God. In 1651 he settled in Weimar, Thuringia, where he became court poet and archivist to Duke Johann Ernst and librarian and registrar of the city. Neumark wrote thirty-four hymns, of which "If You But Trust in God to Guide You" has become a classic.
Neumark wrote this text at age twenty, just after he had finally been able to find employment as a tutor for a judge in Kiel. Neumark was so relieved and grateful to God by his change in circumstance that he wrote this text, saying, “This good fortune, which came so suddenly and, as it were, from heaven, so rejoiced my heart that I wrote my hymn 'Wer nur . . .' to the glory of my God on that first day.”
Written in Kiel, Germany, in 1641, the seven-stanza text (“Wer nur den lieben Gott lasst walten”) had the following heading: "a hymn of consolation, that God will care for and preserve his own in his own time; after the saying 'cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee.' Psalm 55:22." The text was published with the tune, also composed by Neumark, in Fortgepflanzter Musikalisch-Poetischer Lustwald (1657).
Catherine Winkworth (PHH 194) prepared two translations of the original German text: one published in her Lyra Germanica (1855) and one published with substantial revision in her Chorale Book for England (1863), in which the first stanza began "If thou but suffer God to guide thee." Winkworth's revised translation of Neumark's original Stanzas 1, 3, and 7 is the basis for the three stanzas found in the Psalter Hymnal.
A classic German chorale, this fine text focuses on trust in God's care in all of life's circumstances, both prosperous times and "evil days." As Christians we are counseled to be confident (st. 1), to have patience (st. 2), and to be faithful in service (st. 3).
Many occasions in Christian worship when profound trust and hope in God's providence and faithfulness needs to be affirmed as only song can express it.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Bulletin Score (melody only)
Neumark’s original German text, written in 1641, consisted of seven verses. In 1855, Catherine Winkworth translated the text into English, and in 1863 drastically revised her translation, the first line now reading, “If thou but suffer God to guide thee.” Her revisions of the original stanzas one, three, and seven are found in most modern hymnals. Changes in word choice abound between hymnals, but despite different wording, the different texts all ultimately say the same thing. For example, in the Psalter Hymnal, the third stanza reads, “Sing, pray and keep his ways unswerving, offer your service faithfully...” compared to the same line in the Presbyterian Hymnal, which reads, “Sing, pray, and swerve not from God’s ways, but do thine own part faithfully.” Other changes between hymnals amount to changing “thy” and “thine” and other antiquated language to a more modern text.
The tune WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT (same name as original German hymn) was composed by Neumark in 1657 to accompany his text. This became a very popular tune, used in organ variations by Lutheran composers, and in a number of Bach’s cantatas. This is a rather interesting tune because, as Paul Westermeyer states, it can be sung at a number of different tempos, and the meaning of the text will change depending on the speed. For example, you would sing the hymn at a faster tempo when celebrating God’s faithfulness, and at a much slower tempo when singing it in a time of crisis or hardship. The words stay the same, but the meaning changes quite drastically depending on how fast you sing those words. For example, Madeline Robison's slower version in a minor key speaks of heartache much more than Bach's Orgel Buchlein, BWV 607.
Throughout the year we have reasons to remind ourselves to rely on God alone for our help and our safety. This hymn is thus appropriate at any time during the liturgical calendar, but especially during times of crisis in your church or when you need a reminder of God’s faithfulness. It can also be very powerful in services of celebration in which you remember and re-tell the stories of how God has been faithful to you and your church.
Laura de Jong, Hymnary.org
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|Instances (27)||First Line||Text Title||Refrain First Line||Authors||Composers||Meter||Scripture||Tune Title||Tune Key||Incipit||Languages||Publication Date|
|Baptist Hymnal 1991 #57||If you will only let God guide you||If You Will Only Let God Guide You||Georg Neumark; Catherine Winkworth||Georg Neumark||Irregular||Psalm 33:20||NEUMARK||g minor||1991|
|Celebrating Grace Hymnal #76||If you will only let God guide you||If You Will Only Let God Guide You||Georg Neumark; Catherine Winkworth||Georg Neumark||Irregular||Psalm 55:22||NEUMARK||B Flat Major||2010|
|Chalice Hymnal #565||If you will trust in God to guide you||If You Will Trust in God to Guide You||Jaroslav Vajda; Georg Neumark; Catherine Winkworth||Georg Neumark||18.104.22.168.8.8||Psalm 55:22-23||WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT||g minor||English||1995|
|Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #444||If you but trust in God to guide you||If You But Trust in God to Guide You||Georg C. Neumark, 1621-81||Georg c. Neumark, 1621-81||22.214.171.124.8.8||WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT||g minor||1993|
|Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #15||If thou but trust in God to guide thee||2000|
|Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #205||If thou but trust in God to guide thee||If Thou but Trust in God to Guide Thee||G. C. Neumark, 1621-81; C. Winkworth, 1827-78||G. C. Neumark, 1621-81||126.96.36.199.8.8||WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT||g minor||German; English||1996|
|Evangelical Lutheran Worship #769||If you but trust in God to guide you||Georg Neumark, 1621-1681||Georg Neumark||188.8.131.52.9.8||WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT||g minor||English||2006|
|Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #816||If thou but trust in God to guide thee||If Thou but Trust in God to Guide Thee||Georg Neumark; Catherine Winkworth||Georg Neumark||184.108.40.206.8.8||Deuteronomy 31:8; Psalm 27:14; Psalm 42:5; Psalm 46:1; Psalm 46:10; Psalm 55:22-23; Psalm 62:1-2; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 40:29; Isaiah 58:11; Jeremiah 17:5-10; Matthew 7:24; Luke 6:48; John 16:13; Philippians 4:19||WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT||B Flat Major||German; English||2013|
|Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #635||If thou but trust in God to guide thee||Georg Neumark, 1621-1681; Catherine Winkworth, 1827-1878||Georg Neumark, 1621-1681||220.127.116.11.8.8||WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT||d minor or modal||English||1985|
|Hymns of Truth & Light #94||If you will trust in God to guide you||NEUMARK||1998|
|Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #407||If you but trust in God to guide you||If You But Trust in God to Guide You||Georg Neumark||Georg Neumark||18.104.22.168.8.8||Psalm 55:22; Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 22:19; Nahum 1:7; 2 Corinthians 1:20||NEUMARK (WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT)||g minor||2013|
|Lutheran Service Book #750||If thou but trust in God to guide thee||If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee||Georg Neumark, 1621-81; Catherine Winkworth, 1827-78||Georg Neumark, 1621-81||22.214.171.124.8.8||Psalm 55:22; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 9:22||WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT||g minor||English||2006|
|Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #282||If thou but trust in God to guide thee||If Thou but Trust in God to Guide Thee||Catherine Winkworth; Georg Neumark||Georg Neumark||126.96.36.199.8.8||Psalm 55:22-23||WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT||g minor||English||1990|
|Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #446||If you but trust in God to guide you||If You But Trust in God to Guide You||Georg Neumark||Georg Neumark||188.8.131.52.8.8||Psalm 56:11; Psalm 55:22; Proverbs 3:5-6||WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT||g minor||English||1987|
|Rejoice in the Lord #151||If thou but trust in God to guide thee||If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee||Catherine Winkworth; Georg Neumark||George Neumark||184.108.40.206.8.8||Matthew 7:24; Psalm 46:1; Luke 7:4-8||NEUMARK||g minor||English||1985|
|Sing Joyfully #497||If you will only let God guide you||If You Will Only Let God Guide You||Georg Neumark; Catherine Winkworth||Georg Neumark||[If you will only let God guide you]||g minor||English||1989|
|Songs for Life #210||If you but trust in God to guide you||If You But Trust in God to Guide You||Georg Neumark||Georg Neumark; Emily R. Brink||220.127.116.11.8.8||Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5||WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT||g minor||English||1995|
|The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #401||If you will only let God guide you||If You Will Only Let God Guide You||Catherine Winkworth, 1827-1878; Georg Neumark, 1627-1681||Georg Neumark, 1627-1681||18.104.22.168.8.8||Psalm 55:12; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 26:3; Hebrews 13:5-6||NEUMARK||g minor||1996|
|The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #600||If you will only let God guide you||If You Will Only Let God Guide You||Georg Neumark; Catherine Winkworth||Georg Neumark||22.214.171.124.8.8||NEUMARK||g minor||1986|
|The New Century Hymnal #410||If you but trust in God to guide you||If You But Trust in God to Guide You||Catherine Winkworth; Georg Neumark||Georg Neumark||126.96.36.199.8.8||Psalm 55:22||NEUMARK||g minor||1995|
|The United Methodist Hymnal #142||If thou but suffer God to guide thee||If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee||Georg Neumark; Catherine Winkworth||Georg Neumark||188.8.131.52.8.8||Psalm 55:22||WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT||g minor||English||1989|
|The Worshiping Church #636||If you will trust in God to guide you||If You Will Trust in God to Guide You||Georg Neumark; Catherine Winkworth||Georg Neumark||184.108.40.206.8.8||2 Corinthians 1:20; Psalm 34:22; Psalm 55; Psalm 55:22; Proverbs 3:26; Matthew 6:8; Matthew 7:24||WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT||g minor||English||1990|
|Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II #554||If thou but trust in God to guide thee||1999|
|Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #670||If thou but suffer God to guide thee||If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee||Georg Neumark; Catherine Winkworth||Georg Neumark||220.127.116.11.8.8||Psalm 55:22||NEUMARK||g minor||English||1990|
|Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #285||Il faut qu'en Dieu l'on se confie||Il faut qu'en Dieu l'on se confie (If You Will Trust in God to Guide You||Lisette Levis-Baudin; Georg Neumark||Georg Neumark||18.104.22.168.8.8||NEUMARK||g minor||French||1996|
|Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #286||If you will trust in God to guide you||If You Will Trust in God to Guide You||Georg Neumark; Jaroslav J. Vajda; Catherine Winkworth||Georg Neumark||22.214.171.124.8.8||NEUMARK||g minor||English||1996|
|Worship and Rejoice #429||If you will trust in God to guide you||If You Will Trust in God to Guide You||Catherine Winkworth, 1827-1878; Jaroslav J. Vajda, 1919-; Georg Neumark, 1621-1681||Georg Neumark, 1627-1681||126.96.36.199.8.8||Proverbs 3:26; Matthew 6:8; Proverbs 3:5-6; Nahum 1:7; Psalm 55; Isaiah 43:1-3; Psalm 34:22; 2 Corinthians 1:20; Proverbs 22:19; Psalm 20:7; Matthew 7:24||NEUMARK||g minor||2001|