My Whole Heart

My Whole Heart

Sometimes when we awake in the morning, restless because we cannot sleep, our minds tossing and turning with the old news of regret and resentment, our bodies sluggish for the sleep we missed, our hearts slip into sadness. In those moments, we question whether the faith of waiting will lead to its promised outcome. Questions arise, and hopefully, they vocalize into prayer. I imagine one section of the Psalm 119 in just this manner: a cry in the early morning as one must step into their day and wondering where is the confidence to face what must be faced? I wonder, if reading Psalm 119:145-160, you can hear it too?

A poem written several years ago, this poem is an imagining. I came across it again late last summer after having forgotten it.

You may listen to me read the poem via the player below.

With my whole heart, I cry. With all of me
I call out when in my own company
Before the morn, when I in mourning be.
Alone I wait and wait to see
You rescue from the grave
As promised in your testimony.
With my whole heart I cry, “Save!
Oh Lord, please save me!”

With your heart, will you, do you love me?
May I trust, believe you love beyond degree?
Are just, judge with impartiality?
Love to the end though the end bitter be?
No matter the cost?
Though denied, yet love faithfully?
With your whole heart, seek the lost?
Oh Lord, do you love me?

“Nearer my God,” I sing, “Nearer to Thee”
When my enemies draw close, threaten me
Who are far from your law, who act wickedly
Who are blind, yet deny, claim they can see,
Claim they alone are right?
Will you my deliverer be?
Will you rescue, enter my night
To draw me near’r to Thee?

Why? My God, why has thou forsaken me?
My enemies heap contempt scoffingly
My friends deny they know, abandon me
Leave me to hang on this tree
This I do for love.
That blessing may rain more fully
Descend in fire, alight as a dove,
Give them you, Hide them in me.

© Randall Edwards 2018. This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.

Artwork: Rembrandt / Public domain.

Blessed, So Blessed

Blessed, So Blessed

I am working on a series of poems based on Psalm 119. The longest psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem. There are twenty-two, eight verse sections in which the words of each section begin with the same Hebrew letter. The form is as much instructive as the psalm itself. The 176 verses of Psalm 119 is a meditation on the Law. Unlike the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-133) which seem to bear some narrative flow culminating with arriving at blessing, Psalm 119 is constrained by its form. It seems that the form itself is at least part of the lesson, and the lesson is that blessing is not found through unfettered freedom, but rather is enhanced by direction and constraint. (One of the reasons I am helped by poetic forms is that the form makes creating more creative. By limiting my options, I have to work with what I have “rhyme, meter, and rhythm”.) The moral shape of creation (the Law) is comprised of the limits with which we have to cultivate a beautiful character and life.

This sonnet is based on Psalm 119:1-16. If it’s helpful, you may listen to me read the sonnet via the player below.

Ah, to be so blessed as to rest unwound
By the day’s deeds and rumination
That you freely fall to sleep–sweet and sound
Not fearing the prattler’s accusations.
Blessed, so blessed that you know you shall find
The treasure and hope of your desiring
Confident despite trial or grueling grind
Or hardship, discipline, or self-denying.

Can there be such a promise, certain, sure,
Beyond question, betrayal, or forsaking?
A word unqualified, straight and true, pure
So good, the promised hope is earthshaking?
Blessed, the Promise seeks you, calls your name,
Gives you His blessing, takes from you your shame.

© Randall Edwards 2018.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.