ref. = Ps. 46: 1
st. 1 = Ps. 23:3
st. 2 = Ps. 23:4
Juan S. Espinosa (b. Villafranca de los Barros, Spain, 1940) wrote the original Spanish text and composed the tune in 1969. It was first published in Madrid in 1970 in El Señor Es Mi Fuerza, his most significant song collection, which included forty-two liturgical songs written both in Spain and in northern Peru, where Espinosa worked with peasants. Espinosa has said that he "composed to offer the Christian communities in their liturgical expression a few songs in consonance with the new spirit of Vatican II." Espinosa, who earned a degree in theology and philosophy and also studied music, published a number of song collections. The English translation was published in Celebremos II (1983), a Hispanic hymnal of the United Methodist Church in the United States.
This hymn is based on Psalm 46:
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though
the earth give way. . . .
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
As in the biblical psalm, the four stanzas of this text express an unshaken trust in God's guidance and protection of his people, especially when they face turmoil, injustice, and life's other trials. Thus the text is a testimony of confident faith, sure hope, and mutual encouragement. In the biblically proper sense of the term, this is a hymn text of "liberation theology."
As is true of Psalm 46, this hymn fits many occasions of worship; useful for Old/New Year services, but especially at prayer services for justice and peace and urban ministries.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook