The Waiting Soul ~ Music Mondays

John Newton is one of my favorite poets.
Does his name ring a bell?
I wouldn’t expect it to.
Unless you memorized the names in your hymnal as a child (like I did).

John Newton was a curate/parish priest. He, alongside his poet friend William Cowper, wrote an astounding amount of hymns in the 1700’s. A total of 348 made publication under a series of hymn books written for John’s ministry in Olney. They were known as the “Olney Hymns.”

Sadly, only 6 or so ever made publication in the hymnals we know and love here in the United States. One of them making the cut was a poem John Newton titled “Faith’s Review and Expectation~ Hymn 41.” This poem became the hymn we all know and love today as “Amazing Grace.”


I heard about the Olney Hymns in college. My piano theory professor shared their story as he was assigning our final project. The project required each of us to pick one of the 348 poems and write a melody and accompaniment for it. We would play that and sing the self-composed hymn as our final in front of the class.

I had such a hard time picking my poem. Not only am I indecisive, but they each captivated me like no other. I couldn’t choose a favorite. I wanted to sing them all.

When I was contemplating what topic I would cover this week, one subject began weighing heavy on my heart:


This week, I plan on sharing with you what this means to me, what I’ve learned from my own experiences, and the joy I’ve found on the other side.

And when thinking of what song I wanted to start off with to introduce the topic, one of these beloved poems came to mind. May I share it with you?

(Please note, there is no known melody for this hymn. It is believed they would choose a popular melody to sing the lyrics to during their services or would simply chant the words in unison. You feel free to do what your heart hears best.)

“The Waiting Soul” by John Newton

Breathe from the gentle South, O LORD, 
And cheer me from the North;
Blow on the treasures of thy word, 
And call the spices forth!
And call the spices forth!

I wish, thou know’st, to be resigned, 
And wait with patient hope;
But hope delayed fatigues the mind, 
And drinks the spirit up,
And drinks the spirit up.

Help me to reach the distant goal;
Confirm my feeble knee;
Pity the sickness of a soul 
That faints for love of thee,
For love of thee.

Cold as I feel this heart of mine, 
Yet since I feel it so;
It yields some hope of life divine 
Within, however low,
Within, however low.

I seem forsaken and alone, 
I hear the lion roar;
And every door is shut but one, 
And that is mercy’s door,
And that is mercy’s door.

There, till the dear Deliv’rer come, 
I’ll wait with humble prayer
And when he calls his exile home, 
The Lord, shall find me there,
The Lord, shall find me there.

Oh how I love this poem. It makes my soul sing. Just what art was intended for.

I hope you’ll join me this week as we journey through the act of waiting. I’ll need all the support I can get!

How about you? What part of the hymn made your soul sing? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,


NOTE: To read more about The Olney Hymns, CLICK HERE.

17 thoughts on “The Waiting Soul ~ Music Mondays

  1. ooohhhh, the last two stanzas/verses!! how awesome!! i totally got goosebumps. that’s most certainly where i want to be found as well. 🙂 thanks for sharing this today, nikk! i look forward to what else He has laid on your heart for this week. i used to think that waiting was such a rotten place to be. like the waiting place in dr. seuss’ book “oh the places you will go”. but after much seeking while in such a place, i found it can be a place of much needed rest and strengthening – like the still waters mentioned in the 23rd psalm – or it can be a place that God must lead and grow you through in order to prepare you for what’s on the other side – like the israelites during the time in the dessert. i now look at the waiting place as an intimate invitation to spend some quality time with God. its a place to cherish not despise…it all depends upon your posture as you go through this place…whatever the outcome on the other side, are you still going to love and trust Him?

    okay, totally didn’t mean to ramble that much. waiting…its a topic that gets me a little fired up because i feel its soooo misunderstood. 🙂

    • I get goosebumps every time I read this hymn, too, Ginger! We are two peas in a pod I tell ya!
      I agree completely, it’s often misunderstood. I know I have.
      And you have got it. . . “after much seeking while in such a place”. That’s what it takes, isn’t it. as well as your posture. love that.
      I’ve learned all this the hard way and will share what God has taught me in spite of me as a result! So thankful you’re here to encourage me along the way 🙂

  2. That was so rich, Nikki, from the back story (which I always love to know) to the poem itself and the truth expressed so beautifully… it is hard to pick one line but some of the phrases that stuck out were…”Blow on the treasure of your word” because God’s word has sustained for many decades…and the last two stanzas as I have been thinking about hearing the roar of God, or His whisper over the roar of the lion/liar…and how my true home is in heaven. Thanks so much!

    • Beautifully put, Dolly. I’m so thankful this spoke to you like it has me. The “Blow on the treasure of Your word” was one line that has been resonating with me as well. Such depth to that phrase. . .

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me!
      (And will you be sharing more about your thoughts on hearing the roar of God or His whisper over the roar of the lion/liar any time soon?)
      I’ll be reading!

  3. I have really enjoyed these Music Monday posts Nikki! The stanza that brought chills was the one that starts with “Cold as I feel…” The hope of true life is always there, even in the darkest of days.

    Thanks for sharing this today.

    • Thank you so much, Lisa! (Music Mondays are my favorites) 😉

      And I’m so glad you get it. “The hope of true life is always there…” YES! I’m thinking I don’t need to say anything else for the rest of the week as that encapsulates it all.

      Thank you for reading, friend!

  4. Nikki, this is awesome. God’s been teaching me something about waiting. He works while we wait! We aren’t just waiting for no reason. If God is asking us to wait, there is something that He’s working on that needs more time. There is perfect peace in that.

    The poem is so encouraging. I love the old hymns. The words are deep and convicting like nothing we’re seeing these days.

    • Thank you, Katie! I, too, love old hymns. for the very reasons you said. And yes–perfect peace can be found while waiting. So glad you know that!
      Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me, Katie!

  5. Help me to reach the distant goal;
    Confirm my feeble knee;
    Pity the sickness of a soul
    That faints for love of thee,
    For love of thee.

    I LOVE this! Thanks for sharing!

  6. This is lovely. I read it this morning, but wanted to think on it for a bit, then read it again. The phrase that stands out/speaks to me is
    I hear the lion roar;
    And every door is shut but one,
    And that is mercy’s door,

    Beautiful words of hope and redemption.

  7. Nikki, I loved this. Just to think that God watches as we wait, trying to be patient and resigned. And all the while he is preparing us for his future blessings by blowing the treasures of his word across our minds like a ship sailing past in the storm. I am reminded of one of my favorite verses, “Find rest, O my Soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:5

    • What a perfect verse to reflect on, Joy! Loved your words here. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by, read an old post and share with me. You bless me so!
      All for Him,

  8. I followed Joy over here to see your post about John Newton and I’ve been totally blessed. Thanks for being here sharing, just as Joy does.
    I am not a person that generally enjoys poetry, unlike my Mom who loved it. However, good poetry calls even to those of us like me. The portion that jumped out at me this morning is this….Blow on the treasures of thy word,
    And call the spices forth!…..I’d never considered the Word as being like spices, but oh my, yes. This is so true!!

    • Oh, I’m so thrilled you stopped by and shared with me! Thank you! That is my favorite part of the poem/hymn, too. That analogy of the Word being the spice of life… I’ve loved poetry since I was a little girl. One day, my great-grandma Veta told me that hymns were just that. poetry put to music. After that enlightening thought, I couldn’t get enough of my hymnal. I would sit there reading every line. What a blessing it has been to have that engrained in me!
      So blessed to have “met” you today. Hope you’ll come by again real soon!

  9. Pingback: The Fruit of Joy « simplystriving

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