PEACE!  BE STILL! (Master, The Tempest Is Raging)           written in 1874

The Story

Mary A. Baker (1831-1921) was a Baptist, and a resident of Chicago, Illinois. She was an active worker in the temperance cause, and the author of various hymns and temperance songs. This hymn was her most popular hymn.

Mary wrote this hymn in 1874; she was still grieving over the news that her beloved brother had passed away after suffering many months from a long and lingering illness. During this time of grief, Dr. H.R. Palmer asked her to write several songs on the subjects of a series of Sunday School Lessons for that year. Out of her own experience of tragedy, she had learned that often times Christ stills the troubled heart rather than – or as much as – the troubled sea. And possibly the miracle of Jesus was in changing the frightened disciples, as much as changing the elements of nature.

And with that in mind she wrote this hymn.

The theme of this hymn is from Mark 4:36-41, which describes Jesus stilling the storm. Later that same year it was set to music by Dr. Palmer, and published in his Songs of Love for the Bible School, 1874.

Its home popularity was increased by its republication and frequent use during the illness of Pres. Garfield. It was sung at several of the funeral services held in his honor throughout the States.

It’s probable you’ve never heard this hymn, but it was sung in the church I grew up in… and would rank in MY top 5 hymns of all time! I have always liked the way the chorus builds and builds… 

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – allow Christ to still whatever storm might be raging in you.

Master, the tempest is raging!  The billows are tossing high!

The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness, no shelter or help is nigh;

carest Thou not that we perish?  How canst Thou lie asleep,

when each moment so madly is threat’ning a grave in the angry deep?

Chorus

The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will, “Peace, be still!”

Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea, or demons, or men, or whatever it be;

no water can swallow the ship where lies the Master of ocean and earth and skies;

They all shall sweetly obey Thy will, “Peace, be still!  Peace, be still!”

They all shall sweetly obey Thy will, “Peace, peace, be still!”

 

Master, with anguish of spirit I bow in my grief today;

the depths of my sad heart are troubled; O, waken and save, I pray!

Torrents of sin and of anguish sweep o’er my sinking soul!

And I perish!  I perish, dear Master; O, hasten, and take control!  (Chorus)

 

Master, the terror is over, the elements sweetly rest;

earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored, and heaven’s within my breast.

Linger, O blessed Redeemer, leave me alone no more;

and with joy I shall make the blest harbor, and rest on the blissful shore.  (Chorus)

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