Monday, July 30, 2007

A poem for times of suffering

As I've been working on my term paper on the persecuted church, I've read some wonderfully encouraging stories, but nothing touched me more than a poem written by D.W. Udd, the son of an American missionary to Malawai who at the time of this writing worked with his father at a ministry in Malawi. Although published in a book about persecution, this poem addresses the issue of suffering in a poignant way to which we can all relate. I pray that it will encourage you and become your prayer today in your own trials.

even so ...

we heed the call to Canaan Lord
where milk and honey flow
enjoying every blessing
your promises bestow

but when you beckon quietly
to dark Gethsemane
we sooth our consciences to sleep
and dream on blissfully
of fattened calves
and peaceful paths
we hope are yet to be

have mercy on our weakened flesh
empower our willing spirits
prepare our hearts to take the strain
of vigils in the night
and still have strength
to drain the cup
of all the world's tomorrows

we are running with the footmen
and find our feet grow weary
Lord keep us then contending
in your great might alone
lest we ourselves be trampled
under the thundering hooves
of the apocalyptic horsement

we weary in our land of peace
with leanness of the soul
and glance with furtive eyes
at the prophetic glimpses
of the swelling Jordan
where our baptism of suffering
still awaits us

why do we think it strange
when you have suffered so
that we should follow in your steps
and no discomfort know

we lean on your perfection Lord
without it we are lost
yet even you obedience learned
at such an awesome cost

teach us the lessons that you learned
refine us in your fires
until we count it joy to be
impelled by your desires

d.w. udd in Destined to Suffer: African Christians face the future. edited by Brother Andrew. Open Doors, 1979.

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