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Samuel Rodigast, "Whate'er My God Ordains Is Right"

Samuel Rodigast, “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right”

This outstanding hymn was introduced to our church back in 2009, and after singing it for a month of Sundays in order to learn it, we hadn’t sung it since because it is not in our hymnal.  Definitely a situation which needed rectifying, so I re-introduced it a couple of Sundays ago.  To help in preparation, I sent out an email to our congregation which included a a pdf of the hymn, a link to biographical info on Samuel Rodigast, and a video of an organist playing the hymn.  I also included the text of the hymn with a few comments.  I here reproduce the email:


This Sunday, I’m “reintroducing” a hymn that we learned back in August 2009.  From what I can tell, we haven’t sung it since, and that is to our detriment: the message of the song is both theologically rich and pastorally powerful.  It is a strong text, and I wanted to set it before you before we sing it on Sunday.

We will not sing all the verses of the hymn on Sunday, but here they are for your consideration.  I know that it can be easy to skim over “quoted material” in emails, but I encourage you to thoughtfully read these heart-strengthening words:

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
His holy will abideth;
I will be still whate’er He doth,
And follow where He guideth.
He is my God,
Though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall,
Wherefore to Him I leave it all.

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path,
I know He will not leave me,
And take content
What He hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait His day.

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
His loving thought attends me;
No poison’d draught the cup can be
That my Physician sends me,
But medicine due
For God is true,
And on that changeless truth I build,
And all my heart with hope is fill’d.

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Though now this cup in drinking
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it all unshrinking;
Tears pass away
With dawn of day,
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet am I not forsaken,
My Father’s care
Is round me there,
He holds me that I shall not fall,
And so to Him I leave it all.

The text was written by a German teacher, Samuel Rodigast, in order to encourage a very sick friend.  No doubt it did, and has continued to encourage God’s people ever since.

All of us face trying circumstances, and this song reminds us that these things are from the hand of God.  This biblical truth is perhaps seen most poignantly in Job 1, where Job attributes his recent tragedies to the hand of God (“the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away”), and Scripture affirms his statement by noting that “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong” (Job 1:21-22).

But Rodigast does more than baldly acknowledge that all things come from God’s hand.  That much could be done by a bitter and angry man hurling invective heavenward after a loved one dies or he loses something precious to him.  This text, however, points out again and again that God’s sovereign hand brings about what is right: “Whate’er my God ordains is right.”  And in the midst of the difficult things that God himself brings into our lives, God himself is helping us (e.g., “He holds me that I shall not fall”), and we can look forward to the day when all suffering will be over (e.g., “Patiently I wait his day”).

About Chuck Bumgardner

I seek to be a student of the Scriptures — New Testament in particular — and also have a deep love for the praise of God through music in the church. I have at the present time the privilege of overseeing the music and leading the singing in my local church, a ministry which brings me great joy and provides a God-ordained outlet for my musical energies. I've enjoyed serving in music-related areas in the church since high school — some 25 years now — as a vocalist, choir member, choir director, and congregational songleader. In addition to serving as a member — and for a time as an assistant pastor — in various local churches, I've also had the privilege of traveling during my college years to many churches throughout the United States and Canada as part of a vocal ensemble. I hunger to see, both in my own church and beyond, an increased appreciation for the great historic music of the church in which theologically rich texts are wedded to music which provides an appropriate setting for those texts, and through which our affections are turned toward God. I'm also eager to see new contributions to the rich heritage of Christian music which share in the same characteristics.