Spiritual Life

O God Beyond All Praising

By Chaplain Nancy Carlson
Vice President of Spiritual Care

What are we to do in these uncertain times? We’ve seen the headlines, watched the news and perhaps been in contact with people around the world who are dealing with COVID-19. We’ve been social distancing, washing our hands and probably wringing our hands as well. We’ve been praying, reaching out by cellphone and social media, and connecting with others at a distance. We’ve been worshipping online and lamenting. Through it all, there seems to be this gnawing anxiety simmering just below the surface. Will COVID-19 hit our household and when? Who will be really sick and…who might die? Yikes! These are uncertain times for sure. So, I sat down at my piano last night and started playing hymns.

I love the hymn “Shepherd Me, O God” so I started with that one. “Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears from death into life.” Yes, that’s a good one for this time. I picked another one from the Trust, Guidance section: “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”, source of purest pleasure… then “O Holy Spirit, Enter In” and in our hearts your work begin. “Lord of all Hopefulness”, Lord of all calm…your peace in our hearts, Lord at the end of the day. “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us”, much we need your tender care. True, so true. And on it went. I played, I sang, I cried and I let all those emotions out. It felt so good. During this time of hymn singing and worship, thoughts of my parents (both deceased) surrounded me and hopes and dreams for the future came into view. It was a reassuring thing to do in these uncertain times. It was more helpful than I thought it would be. I ended with a few praise songs and then “O God Beyond All Praising” that ends with “and whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill, we’ll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless you still.”

May it be so.


The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23