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. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
Have you ever tried to stop leaning on your own understanding? It isn’t like avoiding other temptations. In many situations, you can avoid giving into temptation by avoiding the object upon which your temptation fixates. When tempted to overeat, you can set limits for yourself and avoid keeping food nearby. When tempted to look at things you know you shouldn’t look at online, you can set up content filters on your devices. But how do you avoid leaning on your own understanding when you can’t avoid your mind or heart?
Let me be part of your story unfolding.
Make me remember I am not my own.
Batter my heart till, your glory beholding,
I defer all to your throne.
Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash
This poem alludes to the poem “Batter my heart, three-person’d God” by John Donne. Look it up for more on the idea behind today’s poem.
All things work for the good, you say.
I do not doubt the truth.
But shall I see the good one day,
Ever detect your better way
When circumstances ever lay
Before my doubtful heart a “may”
Which shakes the faith of youth
With fears I shudder to convey?
My mind is prone to wonder, though
I know you to be wise.
When progress on the road is slow,
When seasons threaten me with snow
Or desert heat, when all is woe –
God, how much further must I go?
My limits are my eyes.
I cannot see how I must grow.
Yet none can know your mind. You see
Past ev’ry fear I face.
So when I lose perspective, be
The peace amidst confusion, he
Whose presence makes the raging sea
A place of rest: tranquility
Of soul because of grace,
Enduring to eternity.
Photo by Dimitar Donovski on Unsplash
Thanks to Montray for helping me title this poem.
Bitterness inhabits me,
Burns within these weary bones,
Breaks the heart’s song, shifts the key —
Melodies to monotones.
Feelings fixate on frustrations,
Fast forgetting joy and peace.
Anger turns to accusations
As emotions seek release.
Father, temper this, my temper,
Tossed midst waves of woes and whims.
Devastate my vile distemper.
Heal my heart through holy hymns.
Christ has borne more suffering,
Bears me up in all I face.
Make of me an offering.
Let me ever sing of grace.
Photo by Alina Chupakhina on Unsplash
I do not trust my heart,
These feelings, these desires,
For though they, at the start,
Resemble warming fires,
They turn to fun’ral pyres.
So teach me to aspire
For your refining fire,
And, for your glory, start
Me t’ward a pure desire,
One after your own heart.
Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash
Wait for him, my soul,
Overwhelmed though you may be.
Trust him when you cannot see.
He is in control.
This will play a role.
Though you long to fight or flee,
Still your heart and bend your knee.
He will make you whole.
Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash
Beware the traps of trappings.
Beware the lies of looks.
Appearances may not reflect the heart.
‘Neath many modest wrappings
Lie hearts ensnared by hooks.
Deception is a most devilish art.
Photo by Alberto Bobbera on Unsplash
Have you ever felt that you could not, in good conscience, sing a specific worship song?
When I read that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9), I often focus on the “desperately sick” aspect, recognizing the darkness of the human heart. But I don’t always consider the rest of the verse. Jeremiah also writes that the heart is deceitful above all things, asking, “Who can understand it?” The heart defies understanding by men. We do not know ourselves like we think we do. Thankfully, as Jeremiah shows, God searches the hearts and tests the minds of men, knowing us better than we know ourselves (Jeremiah 17:10).
Your word: my great undoing, my delight.
I fear to look within, yet fear to stray,
For fear of you (sweet wisdom) shines a light
Upon my path and forces me to say
That I know not my heart or mind so well
As I assumed. This flesh doth e’er deceive.
No strength of will nor want could ever quell
Its tenor regnant. I cannot relieve
My soul from waywardness, for I am bound.
In ev’ry song I sing, I hear its sound.
Discern, speak truth, correct! Let me be found!
You see more clearly than I ever could
And cut more deeply than I wish you would.
I know that all of this is for my good.
Photo by Cathy Mü on Unsplash