The storm is here. Through the windows I watch the trees bend in the wind, the water fall upon the roads. All is washed by the downpour. The dark clouds threatened rain for hours before the first drops fell from heaven, leaving us in a strange state of anticipation and dread. Though we were resigned to face the inevitable, we knew not what lay ahead. Such has been our lot for many months. Continue reading
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Christians, myself included, love these two verses. If you type “Proverbs 3:5-6″ into Google and click the “Shopping” tab, you’ll find this passage printed on bookmarks, bracelets, post-it notes, pillows, iPhone covers, rings, shirts, coffee mugs, key chains, dog tags, posters, canvas art, chalkboard prints, and those hip, plank-board wall decorations. You can even get this verse printed on a skateboard deck (Yep, you read that right). And while we don’t expect to receive any divine revelation just by drinking from a Proverbs 3:5-6 coffee mug (nor do we expect a Proverbs 3:5-6 skateboard to always roll us where God would have us go), we love to be reminded of God’s promise to direct our steps.
A dozen knights in finest armor rode
To kill the dev’lish creature of the deep.
From citadels celestial, by the Code,
They journeyed for the safety of the keep.
The party claimed allegiance to their king,
And gladly did they march for him to war,
Until they found the lands of which none sing,
For there they met the monster of the moor.
The beast fought not with sword nor spear, but voice.
It promised untold riches for a knee.
And, one by one, the soldiers made the choice,
And they were felled without the faintest plea.
None were dissuaded by the death of friends;
Such is the tragic end of selfish ends.
In a strange way, I feel like profundity is equivalent with difficulty. If a piece of art confuses me, or if a poem baffles me, or if a movie leaves me scratching my head, I assume that what I’m observing is quite deep. I believe there to be a meaning hidden below the surface of the medium, and the entire piece becomes a puzzle to figure out. I consider the small details, I hypothesize about possible hints, and I attempt to read between the lines to unravel the mystery hidden in the uncertainty. I noticed this recently when I read T. S. Eliot, or when I listened to Coldplay, or when I watched Eraserhead. I found myself incredibly intrigued (and, at the same time, incredibly confused) by the hiddenness and seeming vagueness of the art. I also found myself inspired by these stories and lyrics, wishing I could write something so deep. Continue reading
Note: This poem is satirical in nature. Psalm 46:10 challenged me lately. I realized that I live all too often as if ministry depends upon my efforts rather than recognizing that God brings the growth. I also realized that I can all too easily sacrifice time with the Lord when school and ministry get demanding. That’s not the right option at all. I need to spend time with God first, and live and work in his strength. This poem, then, is an exaggeration; I don’t actually pray this. But I often live as if I don’t need God for the work he’s called me to do. This poem, in a way, is a confession that I need to learn to “be still” and know that he is God.
“Be still,” you say, “and know that I am God.”
But know ye not, my Lord, that I must move?
I dare not halt or tarry as I trod,
That daily I might my devotion prove.
I have no time to sit and talk with thee
For there are souls who do not know your love.
You simply need to grant my ev’ry plea,
That I might win more souls for heav’n above.
I, Lord, like Martha, see the work to do,
And I, to honor you, would give my all.
I would be known by men as ever true.
I need no other quest, no further call.
You justified me, Lord, by thy good will.
I need naught else, so you can now be still.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
I’m not very good at being still. Even as I’m typing this, I’m noticing that I’m always moving: fingers typing as I write, foot tapping as I think, eyes scanning the room as I try to form sentences. I have to make a conscious effort to just be still, or I won’t stop. And this constant movement isn’t confined to fidgeting. My days are filled with tasks stacked upon one another like volumes in a second hand book shop. Between school and work and church, days can feel like mini-marathons.
We bar and barricade the doors
In our attempts to gain control
Over the monster of the moors
Whose presence takes a deathly toll.
Among our fellow men we place
A visage of maturity,
And wear a smile upon the face
That none might our true nature see.
And all the while we waste away
As day by day the monster kills.
We fall defeated in the fray,
Forsaken by our fallen wills.
We will forever lose the fight,
For our desires are much too strong.
Unless we fall before the Light,
We soon will sing our final song.
The only answer to the curse
Is in the God-man crucified.
In death was opened heaven’s purse.
His payment poured from pierced side
That we poor sinners could be cleared
From wages that were well deserved.
He saved us from the fate we feared,
And humbly our Creator served.
So do not tarry in this time
And risk eternity in strife,
But heed the reason for this rhyme
And turn to Christ the Lord for life!
Have you ever been humbled by the grace of God?
Last night, as I was on my way to grab some food before watching The Walking Dead finale with my roommates, I found myself getting frustrated at traffic. I kept looking at the clock in the car, wondering whether I’d be able to make it through the Taco Bell line in time to see the opening scene of the episode. I don’t like being late, and I really don’t like missing any part of a story, so I let myself inwardly grumble about every little thing that could possibly delay my arrival back at the apartment. Simply put, I was being a selfish punk. And yet, I didn’t have any reason to be frustrated. Most of the traffic lights were green on my way back, including those that seem to always stop me, and the traffic wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I managed to walk into the apartment just as the show was beginning. As I drove, God seemed to make it clear that he was working things out for me, even though I was being selfish about the whole situation. He was showing me grace in the very moment that I knew I didn’t deserve it. Continue reading
Hope, my soul, in God.
Lift your head and have no fear.
Know, O heart, that he is here.
To this promise, tune your ear.
See his staff and rod.
Hope in his good reign.
Sov’reign over ev’ry sin,
His, the earth and all therein.
Ev’ry battle, he will win.
Trust him through the rain.
“Hope: the best of things.”
Devil, demons, try your might;
You’ve already lost the fight.
Darkness cannot kill the Light.
Peace and joy, he brings.