Master the Tempest is Raging (Peace Be Still)

Hymn lyrics by Ma­ry A. Bak­er, 1874, Music by Ho­ra­tio R. Palm­er, 1874
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Hymn Lyrics

Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness,
No shelter or help is nigh;
Carest Thou not that we perish?
How canst Thou lie asleep,
When each moment so madly is threatening
A grave in the angry deep?

Refrain: The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will,
Peace, be still!
Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea,
Or demons or men, or whatever it be
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, peace, be still!

Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today;
The depths of my sad heart are troubled
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o’er my sinking soul;
And I perish! I perish! dear Master
Oh, hasten, and take control.

Master, the terror is over,
The elements sweetly rest;
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven’s within my breast;
Linger, O blessèd Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more;
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor,
And rest on the blissful shore.

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Years since this tune first existed

A hymn for times of stormy weather

This was a new hymn for me, and when Timmy, my husband, first suggested it, I wasn’t too keen… It sounded too ‘old’ and I wasn’t sure whether I could do it justice and try to make it ‘mine’. Timmy knew the hymn because of his grandmother (from whom he most probably got his ‘music’ gene!) who used to teach him and his siblings many, many hymns when they were young. But as I kept listening to it, I realised just how beautiful these words were. Especially in a time like this, when the Covid -19 Pandemic has hit us so hard and so fast that we’ve had barely any time to prepare for it. This hymn talks about how God is there, in the midst of our storms. Even if the waves are tossing high, and even if it seems like God is sleeping in the midst of the storm, He says, ‘Peace Be still’ because the wind and the waves will obey His powerful voice, and we needn’t fear. 
Mary Ann Baker, who wrote the song, wrote it from a place of grief, as she had just lost a dear brother, and she says, “ “Dr. Palmer requested me to prepare several songs on the subject of the current Sunday-school lessons. One of the themes was’ Christ Stilling the Tempest.’ It so expressed an experience I had recently passed through, that this hymn was the result. A very dear and only brother, had been laid in the grave, a victim of the same disease that had already taken father and mother. I became wickedly rebellious at this dispensation of divine providence. I said in my heart that God did not care for me or mine. But the Master’s Own voice stilled the tempest in my unsanctified heart, and brought it to the calm of a deeper faith and a more perfect trust. God’s way is best.” (Sankey, Ira D.. My Life And The Story Of The Gospel Hymns And Of Sacred Songs And Solos (p. 163))

On the Author / Composer