"Resigned when storms of sorrow lower,
My soul shall meet Thy will."
There are quite a few storms of sorrow right now. Is the hymn's author saying that these are all God's will, and we should resign ourselves?
I recall reading this counsel somewhere:
"The will of God is what's left after you have tried your hardest."
Maybe Helen Maria Williams, who wrote these lyrics in 1790, is saying that we find the will of God as we engage with storms of sorrow, "trying our hardest." Williams certainly tried her hardest during such storms. She was a Brit who fought for abolition of slavery, long before that movement gained traction in the US. As a translator of French works, she spent much time in France, and was imprisoned there during the "Reign of Terror," despite supporting the revolution's ideals.
What does it mean to "try our hardest"? In the first lesson for today's Daily Office readings, Moses begs is father-in-law to stay with the Israelites on their wilderness journey rather than returning to his own home, because his father-in-law knew all the good places to camp. Wasn't the cloud by day and fire by night taking care of all that?
Apparently, we are expected to use all our human resources while staying ever alert for signs from God. "Trying our hardest" doesn't mean trying to get along all by ourselves. It means listening while we labor for a better world.