This pain is not forever. It will pass away in time, as seasons change. It will be healed, touched by the one who tasted death on our behalf. Or it will be taken away one day in glory, when eternity outshines time.
We cannot now say which it will be, but we can be certain of its end, and its redemption.
Make me the man that you want me to be E’en if I do not want to be that man. Teach me to trust you when I cannot see The purpose in the details of your plan. Help me to hope when tempted to despair At circumstances greater than my strength, To trust that, in the darkness, you are there With love beyond all height, depth, width, and length. Show me myself, and make me truly know The greatness of my need and of your grace. Remind me you are with me as I go, And lead according to your path and pace. Lord, search me, try me, know me, make me new. Let all my life be lived in love of you.
The psalmist waited patiently for you And then bore witness to your care and grace. Relief followed the waiting like the dew After a night when darkness hid your face. Though you are never absent, we may not Detect you in the time before the dawn. Your promises—oft doubted, oft forgot— Prove true, a hope long hidden, never gone. But patience is required, for though the end Is certain, yet it does not come too soon. You use the time we wait to break and mend. In silence, we learn how to sing in tune. So hope, though time be now a source of strain. Our waiting on the Lord is not in vain.
How can you redeem what I have done? I have sought solace in sin, worshiped idols, chose self over you. True, you are sovereign still, ruler over every realm. But how I rebel, rejecting life, desiring death. I wound myself as well as those I love less than I love myself but more than I love you. I have no excuse, no plea but your pardon, no hope but your help. Salvage me that I might be useful, perhaps even faithful. May it be. Have mercy. Redeem even me.
Sadness is a growing thing. It is watered by frustrated plans, fed by unfulfilled affections, lengthened by loss. Sadness is a subtle thing. Unchecked, it soon can choke life and love and laughter as grief sours and breeds bitterness. Sadness is a frail thing. It breaks open and spills out unexpectedly at the slightest touch. Sadness is a fleeting thing, a fading thing. It is disarmed by a deeper truth, held in perspective by purpose, and will be redeemed at the coming of the one whose love was never lost. He will wipe away every tear.
I wonder what went through John’s mind as he sat in prison. He’d answered the call of the Lord in the wilderness, proclaiming the kingdom of God and baptizing the repentant (Luke 3:1-22). He’d prepared the way for the Messiah, introducing the Christ at the beginning of Jesus’s earthly ministry (John 1:29-36). He’d faithfully stood for righteousness in the face of Herod’s immorality (Matthew 14:4). And yet he found himself imprisoned. The crowds he once taught left him to follow Jesus (John 3:26). While John found joy in humbly playing his role in the bridegroom’s story (John 3:27-30), he seems to have struggled with doubt while in prison, for he sent some of his followers to Jesus to ask an important question.
The gospel is the poetry of truth,
For in it love and beauty condescend
From heav’n above to take the form of youth:
A righteous life to cover those who sinned.
Redemption’s plan was fixed before the fall.
The father, through his prophets, has foretold
The coming of the king who sounds the call
To all who under sin and death are sold.
Twas at the proper time and proper place
The son himself engaged man’s greatest foe,
And by his death the dead were made alive.
Alive again, the word of love and grace
Inaugurates his kingdom here below,
And all who know him evermore shall thrive.
A mother’s cries are echoed by her child,
Their voices piercing through the quiet night.
The newborn son has entered undefiled
To save the sinful souls from their own plight.
His coming was foretold in days of old,
His presence was announced by angel songs.
The shepherds, upon hearing, left their fold
To worship him to whom all praise belongs.
No other child so greatly changed the world.
No other king could rival this one’s worth,
For in this son the plan of God unfurled:
God stepped into this broken world by birth.
Salvation’s story shone this holy day.
The spotless lamb entered into the fray.
If you, O church, could only see
The sin that hides inside of me,
Would you maintain that I am free?
That Jesus is my hope and plea?
Would not “Pariah” be my name?
And would you not seek to defame?
And posit me with damning blame,
Though flesh afflicts us all the same?
For all have fallen short of this,
We all take part in Judas’ kiss
And ev’ry man has gone amiss
In search of sin’s mirage of bliss.
But you, O Lord, do truly see
The sin that hides inside of me,
Yet still you heard this sinner’s plea,
And still you came to make men free.