The song “Break My Plans” was composed by a group of Americans as a tribute to Romanian hymnist Nicolae Moldoveanu. The music video clip below shows a reenactment of Moldoveanu’s journey to prison in Communist Romania. While in prison, he composed more than 360 hymns – all without any instruments, pen or paper.
I wish that many of Moldoveanu’s hymns were translated. Several of them are personal favorites: “Numai harul” (Only Grace), “Dacă ne-adunăm în Domnul” (If We Gather Together in the Lord), “Nu te-ndoi, ci crede!” (Don’t Doubt, but Believe!),and ”Învață-mă să făptuiesc” (Teach Me to Do Your Will).
In Counterfeit Gospels, I mention Moldoveanu as an example of how we should find our joy in God alone:
The therapeutic gospel makes Christ a tool for getting something else. The biblical gospel says “Christ is all.”
The writer of Hebrews commends his readers, saying: You joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. (Hebrews 10:34) The therapeutic gospel has no category for pleasing God through times of suffering, because pain is always, somehow caused by your own lack of faith. And yet the writer to the Hebrews can commend people for joyfully losing everything because their ultimate treasure was God alone.
What kind of gospel would lead someone to be joyful even in the midst of great earthly loss? Not the therapeutic gospel. Only the biblical gospel that magnifies Jesus Christ as the treasure of greatest worth can lead someone to great joy in the midst of great loss.
The most prolific Romanian hymn writer of the 20th century was Nicolae Moldoveanu. He wrote thousands of hymns during his long life, composing many of them in prison as he suffered at the hands of the Communist authorities. One of Moldoveanu’s most beloved songs was written just after the police had plundered his home and left him without any belongings. Only someone gripped by the biblical gospel could pen these words. His song (“Ție-Ți Cânt Dumnezeul Meu”) is translated like this:
I sing to you, my God
For your goodness, for your great grace, I will bless you in whispers and in shouts.
I sing to you, my God,
For all that you have given to me, for your sweet care For all that you have taken from me, I worship you with thanksgiving.
I sing to you, my God.
In words I wish to tell you, my song my burning plea, You are the greatest treasure of all
The following music video of “Break My Plans” begins with these words from Moldoveanu:
1959 was the year when my life was split in two. The work of the Lord needed men who were tested.