You called me to spend two hours alone with you my Lord.
They felt as intimidating as this blank page.
What could I possibly have to say for two hours!
What would you want to say to me?
But still you invited me to a quiet place to spend time with you.
Forgive me for my unbelief and lack of faith.
The lack of faith that my God and my Lord
would not do what he said he would do.
My unbelief that he who died for me, in my place,
and now calls me his friend would not want to spend time with me.
Oh Lord I want to know your heart.
To be able to distinguish your voice in all the babble of every day life.
Because you whisper to me.
You do not shout or raise your voice.
Most of the time I just walk on by.
I do not choose to accept your invitation to stop and rest awhile.
I choose not to tune my heart with yours and hence
I do not hear your voice calling to me.
Oh Lord I am so fickle.
I love it when I sense your presence and when I hear your voice.
But I choose to make these times few and far between.
Forgive me for I still have much to learn.
To discern your voice, your prompting and to linger awhile with you.
I have been bought with a price.
A life for a life.
I am fit only to be your servant.
But you desire and declare me your friend!
Oh that I, a wretched sinner, should be declared a friend of the most high!
The one who was with God when the universe sparked into existence.
The one under who’s feet all principalities and powers have been placed.
The one who sits at the right hand of God.
It is he that declares to the whole world that he is my friend.
It is you.
Oh my Lord. Help me to love you more and more.
To delight in those times when you come to visit.
Prevent me from ignoring you as you gently tap.
Leaving you outside the door to my life.
The door to my heart.
Oh my Lord please give me once again the ability to see pictures.
Reveal once again to me understanding about what I see.
Help me once again to write of you my God, my King,
but most of all my friend.
Help me to express the little I know of you to others,
so that they too may come in from the cold.
Help me introduce them to the thawing warmth of your love,
so that you can draw them into the light from the freezing dark.
Oh my Lord, my friend.
I know you chose the weak things so that your strength may shine out.
I thank you that any good in me is because of your friendship.
But sometimes, maybe most of the time, I feel too weak.
I get it wrong so many times.
Help me, my friend, to fight my daily battles and overcome.
Send your Holy Spirit to guide me and give me strength.
Give me your gift of faith so that I can be sure of that which I do not know
and have hope in that which has not yet happened.
Help me on my journey.
You have called me from the lush, green, pleasant summer river valley.
From the peace and quiet of the river and the trees
upwards to the barrenness of the mountain.
As I start this trek and look back on that which I leave behind,
I am so thankful that, even though I appear alone,
my holy friend is with me.
You have done so much for me.
You did not even stop at dying for me.
But not only this, as if this was insufficient,
you have given me eternal life and friendship with you.
You have promised to be with me always.
I know that you will never ask me to do something for
which you will not supply the resources.
Please just give me strength when I forget.
The ability to stop the world when you come calling.
Whilst hunting in our loft for some of our kid’s books I came across some old notebooks of mine. In one of them was this rather longer than usual poem. I did dither a bit about whether or not I should publish it but two things have made me do so.
What I write is about my walk through the Christian life. It’s the only one I can write about. If I only write about the highs and not the lows then I am not being truthful. I am only describing half a life. As my friends know, honesty is important to me and so I have shared some very personal poems which some may have kept private. I’ve shared these because I feel God prompting me to share about my whole life of faith – the good bits and the bad bits.
The Bible is full of stories of people of faith going through tough times and so we should not be afraid to tell our stories of times of struggle. It is often through the times of struggle that God works because we are more dependent on him. As a great friend of mine so wisely observed, being a Christian does not mean that we are immune from the ups and downs and challenges of life, they will still happen. The difference is that we know we are not facing them alone. It also reinforces the truth that God does not wait until we are perfect before intervening in our lives. Rather, he intervenes when we are at our most imperfect, when we have turned our back on him and don’t even recognise our need of him. If we only ever write about the good times in our faith journey then it can make it seem that you have to have achieved some sort of saint-like degree of perfection before God will even consider entering into a relationship with us. The reality is entirely the reverse, so I write (I hope) about the lows as well as the highs and the times I struggle. It is all about being real.
The second reason for publishing this came about after a brief conversation with a good friend of mine at church. I was telling them about these old poems I had found and that at least one of them was sort of like a lament. Their reply was “Well I think we could do with more laments.” which really got me thinking. When we read the Psalms there is plenty of lamenting going on as there is in many of the stories from the prophets. So why do we hesitate to publish them now?
Maybe we feel that everything has to be perfect or to admit that everything is not perfect somehow makes us a lesser Christian or someone “lacking faith”. As I read the New Testament I don’t see Jesus promising us that our life here on earth will be perfect. Rather I see that it will be full of challenges, but we know that we do not travel through these times alone and that eventually we will overcome. The journey we take with him is more important many times that the destination we get to.