Our Daily Bread, Friday, May 8
The hymnwriter George Neumark was a dedicated Christian who was afflicted with blindness in his later years. This infirmity was just one more trial in a life already filled with heartache. While still a young man, he had been reduced to poverty and was down to his last penny. Yet his trust in God did not fail, for he found great strength in the promise, "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you." He prayed earnestly for God's help. The answer came in the form of an unexpected appointment as tutor for the family of a rich judge. Relieved and delighted, he was prompted to compose one of his best-known hymns, "If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee," to thank the Lord for His sustaining grace. Later Johann Sebastian Bach saw such beauty in the hymn that he used it as the basis for a cantata, and Mendelssohn included it in his oratorio Saint Paul.