My eyes, too weak to properly perceive
The face of beauty, found in God alone,
See clearly lesser things, and thus they leave
The truth of God for gods of self and stone.
And thus I grow to hold too high a place
In my own estimation. I forget
That any good in me is all of grace.
My ev’ry breath is evidence of debt
To God who is the giver of the breath,
Revealed in part, unknowable in whole.
He is, before my birth, beyond my death,
The maker and sustainer of my soul.
Adjust my eyes to greater glories see;
Thereby produce in me humility.
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Might sins which seem so far removed from us
Be those which pose the greatest hidden threat?
Temptations that we never much discuss
May be o’erlooked, which leads us to forget
To strengthen our defenses ‘gainst the foes.
Imagining that we, somehow exempt
From diff’rent dangers, will not face such woes,
We look on those who struggle with contempt.
In truth, we are no better off than they,
For we all wrestle with the fallen state.
We all would perish if not for the Way.
We all need God to make our pathways straight.
So guard your heart with all humility,
Or else risk falling to futility.
Preeminent yet immanent, the Christ,
The holy word, the light, the lion-lamb,
Emptied himself to soon be sacrificed
In order to redeem and not to damn
The sin-stained souls of all who would believe
In heaven’s gift of peace and righteousness.
The angels sing! Rejoice, all you who grieve!
The Lord has come this day to save, to bless!
Behold the babe born to our soil and sod,
The timeless son translated into time,
The image of the invisible God,
The all transcendent Lord’s audible rhyme.
The infant in the manger you now see?
Upholder of the universe is he.
Though the night be filled with bitter sorrow,
Joy comes in the mourning, in the waiting,
In the ignorance, the hesitating.
In our times of testing, God is calling
Those with ears to hear to heed his whisper.
We perceive our need when we start falling
Then detect the Spirit’s voice grow crisper.
God, in perfect love, exposes fiction.
House of cards collapsed then on the table.
He reveals to us with clearest diction
That we need him and that he is able
To, in our great weakness, show his power,
Quenching not the wick nor crushing flower.
Hope then, soul, for God controls tomorrow.
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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.
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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.
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The Lord’s unfailing faithfulness to men,
Steadfast in spite of their consistent sin,
Goes far beyond the guilt and shame within.
Grace reaches past the point of no return.
Hope speaks from lips we thought were taciturn.
We hear the Word, and souls begin to burn.
We know what we deserve; we feel our death.
We sense our separation from his life.
Yet though we fail with ev’ry fallen breath,
In Christ, we find salvation from the strife.
Take heart: this world of fear and death will fade.
Rest in the cross’ sanctifying shade.
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We may not sense the abnormality,
For our appearance does not show the flaw;
But let us look within and we will see
A core not in accord with natural law.
Our symptoms show themselves in varied ways,
Outward effects which hint at inner fault.
All people, fixed and fallen, offer praise,
But differ in the objects they exalt.
And thus most men believe that they are whole,
For they, with eyes untrained, cannot detect
The devastating sickness in the soul
Which works to their eternity infect.
Our only hope is heaven’s holy art,
The surgeon who can fix a backwards heart.
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Do sinking ships feel fear as they descend,
Or do they resolutely meet their end?
Do they imagine all that then is lost,
And measure meaning by the final cost?
Do they, as waves wash over them, regret
The course that led them to the final debt?
Or can they see, when all seems lost, the role
That they will serve just past the ocean’s shoal?
For they, in stillness, serve to make a home
For all who in the waters deep do roam.
And they, like buried treasure, can preserve
The stories of the ones they once did serve.
They seem to fail, yet still they meet a need;
And maybe, in this knowledge, they are freed.
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I strive to walk not by my sight
But by my faith, for such is right;
But sight so terrifies my soul
For I am never in control.
My will is weak, my focus frail;
My future hope, in them, is pale.
My understanding fails to find
A footing, for my eyes are blind.
When all around me calls for fear,
To gospel truth I turn my ear.
God still is on his throne above,
Still steadfast in his perfect love,
His pow’r to rule affected naught
By my imperfect, doubting thought.
No fear of failure, want of strength,
Nor any trial of any length
Can sever heaven’s holy grip
Upon my soul, this sinking ship.
I know, though I know not the path,
That God, in sov’reign mercy, hath
Made straight the road and called me to
His purpose, which is ever true.
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