Assumptions are funny things.
Assumptions are funny things.
For the first time in months, I opened my book and read some of the poems included. As I read, I was encouraged, challenged, comforted, and convicted. I’d forgotten some of the lines I wrote years ago, and I was glad to find them again.
Have you ever considered that you might be praying badly?
Most of the things we desire will fail to fulfill us.
True, hopes deferred may make hearts sick,
But so may hopes fulfilled.
And comfort for a smold’ring wick
May not be what it willed.
For often hopes transfix upon
The means, and so detach
The running from the marathon,
The sewing from the patch.
And what was meant to foster growth
In fear and love of God
Becomes instead a broken oath
Upon the paths we trod.
Tis better far to see the gifts
In light of he who gives
Lest graces be turned into rifts,
Nouns turned to adjectives.
Remember heaven ne’er forgets
Its own. God e’er shall be
Sure hope in spite of fears and frets,
The anchor in the sea.
Contentment is not found within a lack
Of ev’ry good and perfect gift bestowed,
For some with no possessions answer back,
Embittered by what ne’er to them was owed.
Contentment is not found in much excess,
In temp’ral pleasures, comforts of this earth,
For some see all their wealth as somehow less
Than adequate to validate their worth.
The secret lies not in the circumstance
But in the hope held by the seeking soul.
Events tempt t’ward despair or bid us dance.
In both extremes, the Lord retains control.
Nothing in history has e’er sufficed
To satisfy our souls save only Christ.
Thanks to Maci for her feedback on this poem.
How do you feel when you see others receiving blessings you feel have been denied you? What do you do when your faithfulness to the Lord is met not with granted requests but with frustrated plans and deferred hopes? Do you patiently wait upon the Lord and trust his love for you, or do you grow bitter? Do you rejoice with those who are rejoicing, or do you resent those who possess what you desire?
Last week, I wrote that the word of God discerns in us what we fail to discern ourselves, and I tried to show how this cutting work serves to draw us nearer to God. But what do we do when God reveals idolatry in our hearts? How should we respond when God highlights some object or dream or comfort or person and reveals to us our unhealthy attachment? The answer, I think, lies in how we understand gifts.
Matt Chandler, a pastor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, once imitated Mark Driscoll, another pastor, to illustrate Paul’s charge to Timothy to “fulfill your ministry” in 2 Timothy 4:5. In the video, Chandler shows that simply copying a popular pastor’s style of teaching will not make one’s preaching powerful. Instead, each one must do as the verse says and fulfill his own ministry, carrying out the work God assigned him to do. Though short, the video stuck with me, reminding me to fulfill the ministry to which God has called me and to avoid unwise comparison and copying in the work.
A cup of coffee.
A quiet corner of a coffee shop.
This has all the makings of a great night.