Unless you build the house, my Lord,
I work to build in vain.
Unless I use your brick and board,
I will not last the rain.
Let me assemble by your sword
That in my life till gain
My work will ever work toward
Eternal life’s refrain.
In water did this story start,
In water did it end;
And water now reminds my heart
Of all the ways I sinned.
My brother-enemy arrived,
A gift born from the Nile.
Where others perished, he survived,
Vital’ty from the vile.
He learned our ways but kept his kin
Within his heart and will.
Seeing “injustice” ‘mongst his men,
He chose to act, to kill.
In fear he fled (I knew not where).
I thought him lost for good.
Then he returned with greying hair
And with a staff of wood.
“Freedom to worship” was his cry,
Presumpt’ous his request.
“Increase the work” was my reply,
And put his god to test.
Then came the signs, small at the first,
Then day by day they grew.
From blood to dark to death, the worst
Came to my home. I knew
My gods had each been overruled,
Their promises proved wrong.
I knew in them we had been fooled
When mourning was our song.
So I relented and released
The captives to the wild.
The land had rest. The plagues then ceased.
My reign had been defiled.
And so I brooded, plotted, chose
To turn around my loss,
And with a burning vengeance, rose
To catch before their cross.
And there I found them, easy prey,
Defenseless ‘gainst my might,
And I beheld his god that day
Work wonders in my sight.
Now all is lost. Now I depart.
My wisdom I rescind.
In water did his story start.
In water did mine end.
Thanks to Dustin Hadley for the suggestion for today’s poem.
Their eyes now look to me.
I wonder what they see.
Do they detect the doubts and fears,
Perceive the weights, the hidden tears?
Or do they only see
A car’cature of me:
A man of wisdom, love, and care,
Firm in the faith and full of pray’r?
Lord, if they look to me,
Let me e’er look to thee.
Be evident in all I do
That they, through me, better see you.
Let me be all for thee,
More you and less of me,
A servant serving all around
That they in love would e’er abound.
Subtle are the seeds you sow, deceiver,
Passive possessor quietly at work
At shifting my soul’s focus till I shirk
Habits that distinguish a believer
For old futilities. You water waste
To fill the garden grounds with thorns and weeds.
In fear, I grow impatient, turn to haste.
Forgetting faith, I fall. Temptation feeds
Upon my flesh’s efforts. Travesty
Becomes me in the mire of my pursuit
When I forget my strength comes from the root
Of David, from a higher majesty
Than your false throne can feign. I will endure.
Though you assail, my advocate is sure.
When roads diverge, how are we then to choose
The good, acceptable, and perfect way?
We guess what we might gain, what we might lose,
But which is better cannot ever say.
We walk by faith. Indeed. But does that mean
That we distrust our wisdom and our eyes?
Should we step forth in spite of what we see,
Ignoring earth whilst looking to the skies?
Or, in our ignorance, would it be best
To stop, be still, and know that you are God?
To proceed not with hastiness but rest?
To trust you to make straight the roads we trod?
LORD, in our walking, let our focus be
Not as much on our paths as upon thee.
God of burning bushes, smoking mountains,
Clouds and flaming pillars in the distance,
God who spoke the earth into existence,
Calling from dry rocks fresh, flowing fountains,
Are you just as present in the present,
In the average and ordinary?
Does your presence with us ever vary
If our days are boring or unpleasant?
For, it seems, our lives are unexciting,
Work and worship in a world of faces–
Seems so commonplace, these common places.
Is it true, O God, you are inviting
Those with ears to hear to live in wonder?
In our silence, might we hear your thunder?
Pain oft will come, will not relent.
You may well feel your strength is spent.
Pour out to God all your lament.
Lay down all weight. Let go all sin.
Temptation comes. Refocus, then
And when you stumble, rise again.
Pleasures of life will bid you stay.
Stay focused on the narrow way.
Pass through the night to brightest day.