Poetry of the Broken

Last Saturday I purchased a wonderful find at Powell’s Books (Portland, Oregon’s own homegrown new and used bookstore) – a used book called “Invisible Light: Poems about God” – for only $4.50. And it is in excellent condition. It is a collection of poems by various poets, some well known and some not so well known, as well as a few Psalms and other pieces of poetic scripture. I noticed in the table of contents that there were two poems by William Cowper, who I first heard of when reading “When the Darkness Will Not Lift” by John Piper. (See my book review of that book here).

Both of Cowper’s poems were so beautiful; made me wonder why I even try to write poetry. (But I do know my poetry is getting better, and reading poems like Cowper’s just makes me want to learn more about poetry and get better at writing it).

I want to share one of Cowper’s poems with the readers at Broken Believers. I do so because it is a great reminder that even when we think we are too lost and broken to be of any use to God, even then God can do the impossible. He can take a broken vessel and cause great light and wonder pour from its cracks. I am thankful for the poetry Cowper wrote, and for the witness that he provides of the truth that God uses the broken for astonishing things.

William Cowper, English poet and hymnodist
(1731-1800)

You see, Cowper suffered from recurrent bouts of depression and severe mental illness. At times he was convinced that he was damned for all eternity, and that he was a lost soul. Nonetheless, he was able to write some truly inspiring poetry and hymns to glorify God. This particular poem will cause the “Comfortless, broken, afflicted to delight in the joy of a life to come where all pain and sorrow will cease, and the glory of Jesus will be all we need.”

If you are struggling, feeling like you can never be of any use to God, take heart. God is in the business of using His power and wisdom in tandem with the broken believer to accomplish great things.

The Future Peace and Glory of the Church
by William Cowper

Hear what the Lord hath spoken:-
O my people, faint and few;
Comfortless, afflicted, broken,
Fair abodes I build for you:
Thorns of heart-felt tribulation
Shall no more perplex your ways;
You shall name your walls, Salvation,
And your gates shall all be Praise.
There, like streams that feed the garden,
Pleasures, without end, shall flow;
For the LORD, your faith rewarding,
All his bounty shall bestow:
Still in undisturb’d possession,
Peace and righteousness shall reign;
Never shall you feel oppression,
Hear the voice of war again.
You no more your suns descending,
Waning moons no more shall see;
But, your griefs for ever ending,
Find eternal noon in me:
God shall rise, and shining o’er ye,
Change to day the gloom of night;
He, the LORD, shall be your glory,
God, your everlasting light.

Hymn No. 10 of The Olney Hymns

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Peace, Linda K.

You can find Linda’s own blog at http://lindakruschke.wordpress.com/

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Heaven is Waiting for Us, [Anticipation]

There is a place…

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven,  Hallowed be Your name.”

 Matthew 6:9

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 3:20

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”

– CS Lewis, The Last Battle

We often struggle.  Life frustrates us and we really don’t understand why it seems so bitter and confusing.  There doesn’t seem to be any way to get an answer.  The scriptures open up for us at this point.  The answer is ‘heaven’.  Heaven is a promise from Jesus to you.  In that light of heaven we are to live our life anticipating that place.

The assurance of heaven is, is to lift us, and then connect us to that which is eternal.  On earth, life is to a degree, intriguing.  There is, in spite of many conflicts and issues, a certain random pleasure in our lives.  We seem to know that our existence here  is somewhat charmed.  But believe it or not, heaven is so much more, its going to be a ‘kick in the pants’.

The reality of ‘heaven’ is what keeps us moving.  Heaven is the realm in which our Father dwells.  From heaven there is a concerted effort to hold and maintain us as we stumble through life.  Heaven is the provision that is given to faithful hearts who are being transformed by grace.

I hold on to this feeble life because I know and understand the glory of heaven.  Heaven is the place where glory is at home, and heaven is the magnetic pull that will lead me into eternity.  If I am looking for a connection to something way beyond my senses, heaven gives me that wonderful reality. Heaven is where the Lord Jesus is enthroned and is waiting.  When we are once again united with Him, it will be in heaven.

The idea of heaven holds us and inspires us as we try to figure out our walk of discipleship.  It is that promise that compels us, and brings us into a spiritual compatibility.  He is reaching out for us as we are pressing to meet Him.  The very hope of heaven turns our head, and lifts up our vision.  Jesus is the Lord of heaven and He gives us the privilege to dwell in the place where He is.

Heaven is the place where I really belong.  There is nothing that can take its place.  Heaven is a place where all of the redeemed will find a homecoming.  This is where we belong.  Eternity is the force which drives heaven, it is not a ‘static’ place or an existence above time.

Our decision to abide in eternity gives the Father great joy.  He is anticipating our arrival with a great deal of joy.  Heaven will help us forget all the tribulation of our lives here on earth.  It will seem like a bad dream as we step into eternal reality.  Brethren, we are standing on the threshold of eternal life.  Let us press into it, where joy and peace will ambush us in a special kind of wonderful grace.

P.S. I had fun with today’s artwork. The rabbits seem thrilled, and their joy is palatable. 🙂

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Our (Eternal) Compulsion

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Strangely compelling. This morning I found waiting for me a series of verses that link with each other. Together they are both irresistible and indispensable. Combined, they form and establish the eternal perspective for the believing Christian. And it is all very real.

Look for what links them. (All verses are from the New Living Translation.).

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“Because I am righteous, I will see you.
When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.”

Psalm 17:15

“Your eyes will see the king in all his splendor,
and you will see a land that stretches into the distance.”

Isaiah 33:17

 “Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!”

John 17:24

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

1 Corinthians 13:12

“Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.”

1 John 3:2

“And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.”

Revelation 22:4

Living forever, and being changed irrevocably is the sole privilege of the believer. It’s what we long for– sort of a (good) divine madness that continues to drive us; a splinter in our hearts that we can’t expel. But even if we could, would we?

Eternal life has already started for us; I believe far more awaits.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

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The Father’s House

 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

– John 14:1-3

Our hearts can be very disturbed.  It happens more frequently than we think.  We are like a styrofoam cup on the sea in a storm.  Jesus asks us to trust Him in this.  Your trust is very important to Him.  He covets your faith in Him.

Jesus reveals a bit of heaven to us.

  • First, it is a house and not a motel.  There is a warmth and comfort in a house.
  • Second, it is expansive– many rooms, the word is ‘dwelling places’.  Someplace that is relaxing and restful. It’s a place you’ll never, ever want to leave.
  • Third, it is a ‘prepared’ place.  I have friends with a B & B.  They are continually working to make it a comfortable and restful place for their guests.

We see our Lord Jesus taking a personal interest in our stay.  He is involved in making heaven a remarkable place.  That intrigues me.  Somehow eternity seems more hospitable with Jesus directly handling our transition.  He is making all the arrangements on our behalf.

A promise has been given.  He intends to be our escort into heaven.  No one gets lost, or confused as He is completely present.  Our destination is sure, and our Savior is strong.  When Jesus spoke these things, His disciples were encouraged and fortified in their hope and faith.

“It is not darkness you are going to, for God is Light. It is not lonely, for Christ is with you. It is not unknown country, for Christ is there.”

 Charles Kingsley

The promise is precise.  Where I am, there you will be!  This is solid and definitive.  There is nothing vague or ethereal about this.  We will be in His presence just as if it were a dear friend coming by for coffee.  Too often this all gets lost in a haze or fog, and reality is just not there.  But it is real, and its this life, here and now that has no eternal solidity.  And, He has given us His word.

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