Troubled Conscience

Ausbund, 105

I would love to sing but do not feel like it. So what can I do but let sorrow engulf me and wait in patience until the Comforter comes? My harp hangs broken, its strings no longer sound. Everything I feared has happened and my suffering has grown extreme. I cannot avoid it. God has let it come upon me, so what can I do but bear it until I reach the goal?

Why is it this way? I wanted to live in happiness but sorrow came to me instead. I cannot celebrate, I cannot really enjoy anything because sorrow is always with me. Even though I struggle for joy, I cannot reach it, because joy is with God, and if God withdraws himself from me, I am helpless.

Nothing remains for me but ongoing sadness and grief. I cannot force God to comfort me. He is Lord. He gives and takes away. Everything lies in his hands, so I will wait on him.

I will give all things up and wait until God moves. Oh Lord, give me patience and keep me from sinning in my great distress!

My inner being is cast down, overcome with anxiety. Were there no hope I would go under in grief. But I live in hope. I hope that God will eventually give me my heart’s desire.

Sins I confessed long ago, sins I no longer practice, come constantly to mind. They seek to accuse me and trouble my conscience, even though it is free. They seek to destroy my sense of God’s comfort, and temptations press upon me from every side.

Many thoughts oppress me. They weigh me down and threaten to make me fall, one way or another. Why should this be happening to me, a servant of Christ whose sins have been washed away?

Lord, you bore me again through water and spirit and took me for your child. It is not necessary for me to doubt anymore. But temptation, your Word explains, is to prove me.

Through much tribulation and suffering I shall become pure like gold. As long as I live in the flesh, your Word tells me, I will suffer temptation. But temptations will end when God hurls sin and death into the pit of hell!

Oh Lord, protect my conscience! Govern me with your righteousness and lead me into the way of peace!

Hans Betz,       -1537, Eger, Franken, Germany

Member of Anabaptist community at Znaim in Moravia, captured at Passau, died after 2 years in prison.

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