If you, LORD, withhold no good thing,
I must believe this present sting
Is evidence of providence,
A chance to give an offering.
My hopes and plans I humbly bring,
Releasing all, surrendering
To better sense your immanence
Within the shadow of your wing.
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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.
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To be where one is present with no thought
For how one might escape the present state.
To hold that one is held when one feels caught.
To feel the urge to run yet still to wait.
To know that his provision is enough,
His grace sufficient for the task at hand.
To recognize the road indeed is rough
And follow still with faith in his command.
To seek his reign and righteousness above
The chasing of all momentary needs.
To trust that ev’ry test is ruled by love.
In darkest valleys, still the Shepherd leads.
From worry and comparison refrain;
His sov’reignty and purposes remain.
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Frustrated by my failure to perceive
The movement of the invisible one
Whose work, though purposeful, leaves me undone
Till no one save the Savior can relieve
The longing my soul feels to find its home.
I both believe and struggle to believe
That hope endures because of heaven’s Son,
That fears will fade, that victory is won;
And in this moment, I cannot conceive
How this cross leads beyond a catacomb.
I see I am shortsighted, prone to think
No sign of water means no future drink.
Such circumstances hold a hollow taunt.
God is my shepherd. I shall never want.
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You give us the ability to give,
For all we have to give, in truth, is yours.
The very breath we breathe, the days we live,
Our daily bread — each comes from heaven’s stores.
Lord, let us not forget that all is grace,
That we have earned not one of all our joys,
And let us fix our eyes upon your face
Above all earthly troubles, tasks, and toys.
Forgive us when we want more than your love,
And fit us to receive and be content.
Yours is the universe and all thereof.
The proof of your provision is Advent.
In thanks, we rest and look toward the Son,
Dependent on the independent one.
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He knows our needs.
He promised to provide.
So worry not
Nor let your courage fail.
Flow’rs grow from seeds
After the seeds have died.
You will not rot.
In Christ, you will prevail.
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Elusive fulfillment, promising much,
Master of anticipation and lust,
Warping a want till it feels like a must,
How many more must be crushed in your clutch?
Questioning you grows progressively more
Treacherous, for you twist my desiring
From pure motives in holy retiring
To meaner modes. I cease to see the war.
Awaken me, O Spirit. Help me hear
The still, small voice reminding me the way
To fullness is to seek a higher end.
My God, you reign. Teach me to love and fear,
To trust in your provision for this day,
And to abide in thee, most faithful friend.
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The presence of my shepherd is my peace.
His goodness to me day by day, my song.
His love for me bids all my worries cease.
He over ev’ry enemy is strong.
I lack no needed thing, for he is here
In deepest darkness as in brightest light.
Amid my enemies, I do not fear,
For God, my father, watches through the night.
No storm or sword or snake can separate
My soul from the Almighty’s sov’reign grasp.
This body may decay, these doubts berate –
Still I remain within my father’s clasp.
True life is life lived at the shepherd’s side.
I make it thus my aim to there abide.