With the LORD All Things Begin!

With the LORD all things begin!
As a child, trust Him forever
On thy own strength building never,
Humbly keep from pride and sin.

Refrain (Repeat)
With the LORD all things begin.
With the LORD all things begin!
Jesus as thy Shepherd leading,
Then the goal thou will be reaching.
Safe the path He guides thee in

With the LORD all things begin.
With the LORD all things begin!
Courage will thy Helper offer, 
And with joy thy work will prosper, 
Thou hast done it all for Him!

With the LORD all things begin.

Christoph Christian Hohlfeldt 1776-1849

The beginning of a new year. One of many we have already experienced. And yet, each time it is a significant step for us; it touches our emotions. So many thoughts arise: questions, uncertainties, concerns, and sometimes fears. We try to hide them, especially because we are people of faith. Logically, we know and are aware that God holds “the whole world in His hands.” At least that’s what the children sing. And yet, as humans, we feel so helpless and uncertain at the threshold of the year.

It was many years ago… I sang in the men’s choir of a church. One song has remained unforgettable to me. From time to time, I am reminded of it, especially at the start of something new, like a new year. The song begins like this: “With the Lord all things begin!” It is quite old; the lyrics were written about 200 years ago by Christoph Christian Hohlfeldt (1776-1849). The song has not lost its meaning over the years. The message is as strong as a boulder in the breakers. It not only guides and encourages but also has biblical references. Shall we look at the words together?

“With the Lord… as a child trust Him forever.” How important these words are, especially at the start of the year. The concept of trust runs like a common thread throughout the entire Bible. The Old Testament patriarchs, the authors of the Psalms, the prophets, the apostles of the New Testament, and especially Jesus Christ Himself speak of childlike trust. Instead of listening to the news and predictions of people, we should take the hand of our Heavenly Father and say, “I trust You, my Father….”

“With the Lord… on thy own strength building never.” Building on your own strength is risky and dangerous. If we do not trust the Lord, there is often nothing left but to rely on our own strength. But relying solely on our strength and thinking is unreliable. It is immensely better to trust in Him and His strength.

“With the Lord… humbly keep from pride and sin. With the Lord all things begin.” Humility should be our constant companion in the new year. May God keep us from arrogance and conceit, for God opposes such people “but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

“With the Lord… Jesus as thy Shepherd leading.” Some years ago, I read a newspaper article about young people who attempted to climb a mountain without a guide. They thought they could succeed without one. Unfortunately, the story ended tragically. How different it is when we turn to the Lord and say, “Please take my hands and lead me….”

“With the Lord… then the goal thou will be reaching.” Ultimately, it is about reaching the goal. Whoever chooses the Lord as their guide and lets Him lead will reach their goal. Jesus refers to His followers as a flock of sheep. He, the Good Shepherd, goes ahead of His flock, “and His sheep follow Him” (John 10:4). On this path, it is impossible to miss the goal.

“With the Lord… safe the path He guides thee in. With the Lord all things begin.” In this part of the song, various thoughts come together. We can also see the following connection: the Guide, reaching the goal, and finally, the thought of the safe pathway. God always leads us with the goal in mind. The path does not always match our ideas, thoughts, and expectations. Nevertheless, we can know that it is the right path we are on – God’s way. And that is known as the safe path.

“With the Lord…courage will thy Helper offer.” The words “Helper” and “courage” immediately catch my attention. Both are needed. Whoever starts the year with the Lord and stays close to Him will soon realize that He is there as our Helper. “He will never fail to help you.” And this every day anew! 365 times in the year ahead of us.

“With the Lord… and with joy thy work will prosper.” He is not only by our side to help, strengthen, and encourage but supports us so we can joyfully go our way and complete our tasks, our life. This reminds me of the words of the Apostle Paul, whose desire was to finish his race with joy (Acts 20:24).

“With the Lord… thou hast done it all for Him.  With the LORD all things begin.” The reason why everything is possible lies in this last statement, “done it all for Him,” for God. Therefore, we should always intentionally have God at the center of our lives.

These words of the lyricist are profound. They are especially significant at the threshold of the year.

I have an idea. Why don’t we sing (or you sing) the entire song – right now? The words of this song should engrave themselves deeply into our hearts so that we do not forget them. And now let us take courage, dear brothers and sisters. Those who begin the year with the Lord are safe and secure and will joyfully complete their journey! 

Harry Semenjuk

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