We want but are not satisfied in gain,
And so we gain new wants to add to old.
This futile journey is an old refrain
Of wants too weak to trust the Story told.
“Our hearts are restless till they rest in thee,”
The saint once wrote, and still his words resound.
They ring from Africa across the sea,
True both on foreign and familiar ground.
For we were wrought to reckon with our ends,
To know the purpose t’ward which passion points:
Temp’ral desires call for that which transcends;
What leads to life divides marrow and joints.
O LORD, align our wanting with your will,
And turn our hearts to you and so fulfill.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
The quoted line above refers to a line from Augustine’s Confessions.
I feel the pain but cannot find the benefit.
The path I would have chosen seemed a better fit.
Yet tests portend the sacrifice. I see my wraith
Point to my cross and call me to walk forth by faith.
Faith does not promise answers, bids me follow still;
Points past my understanding to the Father’s will;
Grounds hope not in the knowing but in being known;
Endures uncertainty certain of heaven’s throne.
Faith fixes focus not on the ephemeral
But finds eternal joy within the temporal.
It lays aside success and loss for higher gain
And trusts the one who gives and takes to justly reign.
Obedience bids me to die to self in this,
To trust the process in this brief parenthesis.
The work you do is good, as it shall always be.
Steadfast unto perfection is the course for me.
Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash
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.
Photo by Adam Sherez on Unsplash
Is it not gain to sacrifice
When giving to the Lord?
Since he has paid the ransom price,
Can we not love afford?
Is it not wise to lay aside
The things that pass away
And in the light of love abide,
For this alone will stay?
Is it not loss to grasp and cling
For what can never fill,
And follow after hopes that bring
Destruction to the will?
Is it not foolishness to prize
What only will decay,
And feed the fault before our eyes
Which on our souls does prey?
Oh how quickly we abandon
Our morality and will
When, to our complete confusion,
Circumstances strike us ill.
Ill-advised is our rebellion,
Yet the rebel’s part we play:
From disciple into hellion
When the storm invades the day.
Can we not remember glory,
That our Lord has won the fight?
Do we yet forget the story?
Light has broken through the night!
Suffering is light and fleeting
When compared to Christ above.
No bereavement, bane, or beating
Breaks the grip of God’s great love.
Persecution serves to purge us.
Suffering now sanctifies.
We are bought by Christ’s own purchase,
Seeing now with open eyes.
Therefore, we count joy our sorrow,
Singing praise in deepest pain.
Should we face our death tomorrow,
Even this is wond’rous gain.
Counted righteous, yet we sin
Broken, but He lives within
Dying daily while we live
We are paupers, yet we give
Owning, but cannot afford
Wealth belonging to the Lord
Rich beyond all human dreams
In the desert finding streams
Walking from the state of death
Lungs of dust inflate with breath
Weakness shows a deeper might
Faith replaces eyes for sight
Hope endures when hope has died
Tortured souls in peace abide
Counting joy the deepest strife
Dying Son; eternal life