Christ My Song - 129
Ask not, what it is that ails me - My soul thirsteth after the living God (Carl Johann Philipp Spitta/Richard Massie/
Johannes Thomas Rüegg)
My soul thirsteth after the living God.
1. Ask not, what it is that ails me,
probe not deep my inward smart;
God it is himself that fails me,
thirst for God consumes my heart;
for, alas! if he be wanting,
boundless wealth would leave me poor,
houseless, friendless, thirsty, fainting,
wandering from door to door.
2. Riches, honour, pomp, and learning,
beauty, pleasure, science, art,
cannot satisfy my yearning,
cannot fill my aching heart;
patience under tribulation,
strength to suffer, love, and live,
joy in death and consolation,
God himself alone can give.
3. Idols of the heathen nations,
works of art and human skill,
cannot quench my aspiration,
nor my earnest longings still;
subtle thoughts and speculations
of past ages and our own
cannot reach my expectations,
which cry out for God alone.
4. When shall I appear before thee,
when behold thy glorious face,
and with joyful lips adore thee,
in thy full unclouded grace?
When shall love succeed to coldness,
confidence to doubt and fear,
when shall I with childlike boldness
to the throne of grace draw near?
5. When will God be my sole treasure,
when will he abide with me?
When will his great will the measure
of my will and actions be?
When will no thought ever enter
into heart and mind but this,
in the Lord alone to centre
every hope of happiness?
6. No! the flame, which he hath lighted,
will not prove a flickering ray
he who hath this thirst exited
will its longing quench one day;
when I quit this vale of sadness,
and to brighter regions soar,
I shall drink with joy and gladness
living waters evermore.
Richard Massie, Lyra Domestica I, 1863, 115-116.
Translated from the German Fraget doch nicht, was mir fehle - Durst nach Gott
of Carl Johann Philipp Spitta.