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.
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?