The Story of Paul Gerhardt
In Germany, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, there lived a zealous evangelist named Paul Gerhardt. The authorities did not like his preaching and told him he must either moderate his forthright words or leave the province. Gerhardt replied, ‘I would rather die than preach things not taught by the Bible.’
He was, along with his wife and family, therefore forced into exile, and left without material resources. After long and arduous travel, on a particular evening, they found a householder who was kindly disposed towards them; who was willing to provide them food and lodging.
Paul Gerhardt himself feeling very sorrowful in his need, retired into the nearby forest to pray. As he was pleading with God, the following words of scripture came as an answer to his prayers.
“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5
EXPECTATION FROM GOD
Strengthened and encouraged by this, he rejoined his family, in complete belief that God would undertake for him.
In the middle of that night, loud knocking was heard on the door of the house where his whole family were sheltering. A horseman, accompanied by others, at the threshold called out and announced, ‘I am looking for a preacher named Paul Gerhardt, is he here?’ When informed that he was, the horseman demanded, ‘Bring him out.’ Gerhardt went forth and the horseman gave him the following message from the Duke of Merseburg. ‘Come to my estate, you will have a house, provisions assured, and you will be free to preach the gospel as you choose.’
God had heard the prayer of His servant and here was an answer beyond all expectation.
The psalmist could say, “I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1-2
May you, also, dear reader have full confidence in God at all times, for “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8
The scriptures state, “…do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
Paul Gerhardt was truly a servant of the Lord who knew what it was to actually trust the Lord at all times.
Later he wrote the following among his many poems and songs.
ALL THINGS SERVE HIS MIGHT
Through waves, through clouds and storms,
God gently clears the way;
We wait His time; so shall the night
Soon end in blissful day.
He everywhere has sway,
And all things serve His might;
His every act pure blessing is,
His path unsullied light.
When He makes bare His arm,
Who shall His work withstand?
When He His people’s cause defends,
Who then shall stay His hand?
We leave it to Himself
To choose and to command;
With wonder filled, we soon shall see
How wise, how strong His hand!
We comprehend Him not,
Yet earth and heaven tell,
God sits as Sovereign on the throne,
And ruleth all things well.
Edited by- C.B.R.
THE GOSPEL WITNESS Number 14
Acknowledgment: © CHRISTIAN BOOK ROOM
P.O. Box 95413, T.S.T., Kowloon, Hong Kong, SAR of China.
Photo by Franco Ho