Joy

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Joy to all the world, to ev’ry creature:
God has come to dwell with his creation.
He who knows us – ev’ry fallen feature –
Put an end to our great separation.
Now his presence leads to our rejoicing
For he turns our mourning into dancing.
In the depths of darkness, we are voicing
Victory: the kingdom is advancing.
Joy now grows in souls steeped in the Spirit,
Joy still true when trials stand before us.
Steadfast, nothing e’er can steal or smear it.
It now fuels the everlasting chorus.
On our journeys, this is holy leaven:
We are strengthened by the joy of heaven.


Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

The Process

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Haunted by the fear of what comes after
That hard resignation of all hoping
In all plans of mine, the feeble groping
For a road that will not warrant laughter.
Rip a wall down and remove a rafter–
So it feels when dreams begin to crumble.
“All is lost!” – the thought when you but stumble.
Can we lose and not despair thereafter?

Faith and patience: bittersweet but proven.
Bitter, for they bid us leave our hiding
In the safety of our sight and timing.
Sweet, for we, though limited, yet move in
Sov’reignty’s provision, e’er abiding
In his goodness, t’ward him ever climbing.


Photo by Davide Foti on Unsplash

I Do Not Want to Follow You Today

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I do not want to follow you today,
And though I know the path you set is right,
I do not want to walk the narrow way.

I struggle now to find the words to say
That, though I do not want to leave the light,
I do not want to follow you today.

I still will read the Bible, still will pray;
Yet, as I stand before the darkest night,
I do not want to walk the narrow way.

God, can I still within your purpose stay
When, with emotions filling me with fright,
I do not want to follow you today?

Storm clouds have come and turned clear skies to grey.
God, must I walk by faith and not by sight?
I do not want to walk the narrow way.

These few concerns before your throne I lay.
Lord, leave me not, though in this temp’ral plight,
I do not want to follow you today,
I do not want to walk the narrow way.


Photo by Konstantin Planinski on Unsplash

They March

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Harsh battle cries and cries from battle blows
Break full upon the ears by helmets hidden.
The enemy’s assaults—always unbidden—
Besiege the soldiers. All around them, foes
Fling flaming arrows ‘gainst the humble few.
These few still march, past bodies spoiled and sodden,
In search of captive souls. These, the downtrodden,
Still march, unbroken, victory in view.
They taste their own blood, wear blood not their own,
Press forward by a blood more diff’rent still.
They war to see the day the war will cease.
Though sore-afflicted, fire burns in their bone.
They march with life no enemy can kill,
Their ev’ry step in war, a step t’ward peace.


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

On My Use of the First Person

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I remember finding a used copy of A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis in a back room of a house-turned-flea-market in Natchitoches, Louisiana while I was in college. The price was less than two dollars, I think. I was beginning to venture into the world of Christian thought, and my hunger for truth was strong and wild. Lewis’ name rang a bell in my mind, recalling memories of his Narnia stories. A Grief Observed, if memory serves me well, was my first taste of his nonfiction. I hadn’t a clue what that short book would do to me.

Continue reading

Wait

Wait

For what do I wait when I wait?
Do I lack the strength to complete
The journey before me? Does fate
Require more merit? Oh, this heat
Makes me restless. How long must I
Stay, unmoving as the process
Purifies me of worldly dye?
How long, O Lord? For I confess
I long to run. This surgery
May mend, but how it hurts me so!
I wonder, would you murder me
To purge the sin which lives below?
(Perhaps tis so.)
When can I go? When will this end,
This sanctification, this flame?
You who eternally transcend
My thoughts and ways, your holy name
Is both my hope and bane. I break
Before your unrelenting hand
Which works to my foundations shake
Until I trust in your command.
So have your way in me, I pray.
Though I may never comprehend
Your purpose, let me near you stay,
O God, the absolute, my end.


Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Joy


These tests, although they vex us so,
Have no eternal consequence
Save that they serve to stretch and grow
Our faith in God’s omnipotence.
Disrupting our complacency
And any semblance of control,
He opens up our eyes to see
That he alone can make us whole.
He takes from us what we would keep
To give us what we truly need.
All lack of supper, safety, sleep
Recalls to us the ancient creed,
That Christ has lived and Christ has died
And Christ returned to life again,
And God, not sparing him, supplied
Our cause for hope, our good, our gain. 

Transition

Another chapter closes now, and I
Lay down my pen to catch a bit of breath.
I reminisce o’er days that have gone by
And look ahead to days until my death.
Through weeks and months and years, you did unfold
The plan that brought me to this present time,
And though you took things I had hoped to hold,
Your rule has brought about a better rhyme.
I trust you with the days that are ahead;
I still will follow, though I cannot see.
Perfection bore the wages in my stead;
I do not doubt your daily love for me.
This marker on the road lifts up my face,
A testimony to your truth and grace.

Fear and Faith

(Photo cred: Jeremy Poe)

My final destination is secured;
Tis fixed within my future by the pow’r
Sustaining all creation ev’ry hour.
And yet the days ahead appear obscured.
By pages and by principles applied,
May I perchance perceive the Father’s plan
(And thus pursue the path by strength of man
And live a life untested and untried)?
No. Faith is forged by following in fear,
Uncertain of the details of the road
Yet certain of the Master’s love and might.
Help me then, Lord, to listen and to hear.
Let me abide in thee in this abode
And learn to walk by faith and not by sight.