Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

Wow, what a great song!  Obviously I think that about every song I share on here, or else I wouldn't share it, right?  Well, that's right, but I'll say it anyway - and again. 

Wow, what a great song!

I've heard it many times before, listened to the lyrics less often, but it wasn't until recently that I fully grasped the beauty of it.  Anne Steele (1716 - 1778) penned the words of this hymn after a life tragedies and hardships from start to finish.  She was without a mother by the age of 3,
became disabled from a severe hip injury at the age of 19, and lost her fiance to a drowning accident the day before they were to wed.  All of these griefs, undoubtedly, laid heavy on her while she lived with her father in poverty, yet she did not curse her God.  Instead, she sought refuge in Him, though not without struggles of doubt as shown in this hymn.

The beautiful theme running through this hymn is Christ's all-sufficient power to heal and forgive.  We all are weary, sinful travellers, seeking refuge from our struggles with sin.  Amongst us stands a God who is ready and willing, offering the only true peace, grace and forgiveness, to His children through the finished work of Jesus Christ.  In Him alone is our refuge, in Him alone is our peace, and in Him alone is the power to work out our sanctification.

In the second verse (see below), Steele mentions her sin of doubt and how its success acts on her to turn her mind from God.  In this line, I believe, any of our sins can be inserted here: lust, pride, selfishness, anger, etc. In this way it makes this hymn far more personal.  Does not the success of our sins in us bring about the same reaction?  And so this hymn demonstrates for us how we ought to resolve this conflict.  It speaks the truth to us, through rhetorical questions in verse three (Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face, And shall I seek in vain?).  The hymn then closes with this estrangement resolved and her laying prostrate at the feet of her Redeemer and Forgiver.  What a glorious moment, and one that some day will no longer be just symbolic but indeed, physical in the age to come.

The Lord is always ready to receive us from our sins without condemnation, as long as we come to Him humbly, seeking His grace and forgiveness, bring glory to Him.  I hope you enjoy this hymn as much as I have.

Performed by Indelible Grace Music (featuring Sandra McCracken, lead vocals)

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,
I fear to call Thee mine
The springs of comfort seem to fail,
And all my hopes decline
Yet gracious God, where shall I flee?
Thou art my only trust
And still my soul would cleave to Thee
Though prostrate in the dust

3. Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,
And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace,
Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of sovereign grace,
Attends the mourner's prayer
Oh may I ever find access,
To breathe my sorrows there

4. Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet,
Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet

©1998, Kevin Twit Music.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Thanks to the Holy Spirit speaking through you. I needed this today. Praise the Lord who is never sought in vain. Love you Damian. Love your blog -Dominique

    1. Thanks Dom! You're so encouraging! I'm glad it was helpful for you, and I was able to be used for His purpose.

  2. This is an excellent song. It's a shame that all of Anne Steele's hymns have fallen out of regular use, but I'm thankful to Indelible Grace for bringing them back to life.

    1. Agreed. I'd like to hear more of her hymns, or any old hymns would be welcomed for that matter. Deep rich lyrics are lacking in much of CCM today.