Eberhard Arnold published most of his essays during his lifetime, but almost none of his poems. It might have been shyness: many are love poems, and others reveal private struggles. This selection from his earliest poems reveal a rock-solid faith and trust in God – they can also encourage anyone facing difficulties or an uncertain future and can be a centering point for meditation and contemplation.
Jesus, my refuge
In thee, O Lord, I find new power
when my own power is spent and gone.
I see help coming from nowhere else,
to thee alone in hope I turn.
For thee, Lord, I reach out in longing,
though all around me breaks and falls.
Thy arms shall hold me safe forever;
thy love remains, whatever befalls.
In thee, O Lord, is grace abundant.
On thee I trust as on a rock.
The way thou lead’st me on is straight,
my hand in thy firm hand is locked.
So I shall keep, steadfast and faithful,
upon the path that thou hast shown.
Into thy hands I lay my burdens,
entrust all things to thee alone.
Breslau, July 30, 1905
Christ in the ship
Be not afraid, for naught will hurt you,
the Lord himself is in the ship!
Where Jesus is, no storm can harm you,
no wind can throw you on the cliff.
Hold on in faith, he will be with you.
He stands in front, right in the bow!
In all your need he’ll not forsake you.
Leave Satan’s fear behind you now.
Away with all your fearful trembling,
for in your boat is Christ himself!
In stillness and in stormy weather
he leads us safe past rocky shelf.
Halle, November 1905
Human props must fall away:
Savior, we need thee alone.
Worlds may break, but thou wilt stay.
Though the darkness may increase,
thou, O Lord, art our true light.
On us, thy children, rests thy peace.
Pain and sorrow weigh on us,
yet we know that thou canst heal.
Thus in thee alone we trust.
Thee we follow, free of haste.
Thy quiet calm remains our help,
Golgotha, our heart’s true rest.
Jesus, thou art at our side.
Thou hast cast our burdens far,
Satan’s might forever defied.
Thou didst say, “Rejoice, take heart.
All who suffer for my sake
in my kingdom shall take part.”
Christ, we would thy followers be,
rich in joy that comes from thee,
thine for all eternity.
Breslau, September 19, 1907
These poems are published in Poems and Rhymed Prayers (Plough Publishing, 2003).