I did not write this poem. I honestly do not even know who did but my dear mother shared this with me some time ago and it spoke volumes to me. Read on and I hope that it can touch you and speak to you the same way that it did my mom and I. I would love to meet the dear saint who penned these words and simply tell them, "thank you".
THE MYSTERY OF GOD'S MINISTRY
I prayed to be made holy like the savior
To be patient, gentle, mild and meek as he
Then straightway came some bitter dissapointment
And I pushed the instrument away from me
I kept on praying still to be like Jesus
And trials of sort I seemed to face
But every time one came I fled in terror
And sought me out some human refuge place
I cried for love, that dying love of calvary
At once it seemed my foes were everywhere
I could not stand to meet with opposition
Injustice I had never learned to bear
And once again I fled for consolation
To some I knew were loyal through and through
And then kept wondering at my heartfelt hunger
As day by day my prayer I would renew
I sought for faith, the kind that moves a mountain
Then staggered when my plea for alms seemed spurned
I said that "God, His love for me hath holden"
How strange through all, his will was not discerned
And after weeks and years of constant trying
I seemed to stand fast where I stood before
At last I noted there was not advancement
"Why is it Lord?"My heart seemed to implore
He spoke when I had ceased my bitter struggling
And quiet was I, passive in his hand
And to my great surprise (almost REBELLION)
He said "You have not heeded My commands;
You wanted peace and joy and love and patience
But daily you have shrunk from sacrifice
You loved the hollow "ROMANCE" of mount calvary
But for the crown you will not pay the price
I see it now! I do not like the chastening
But now instead of seeking human aid
I let each stroke he sends be just a weapon
To bring the thing FOR WHICH I LONG HAVE PRAYED
And when I shrink in terror from the trials
I only cling still tighter to my Lord
And then emerging from the loathsome testing
I find I am more like HIM - My reward
How many times have I, myself prayed, "Lord, Lord make me like you! Give me your heart, break me, use me, fill me!", but the moment he begins the crushing process I withdraw and begin to seek comfort elsewhere. The moment He begins to do the work inside of me which I asked and begged for Him to do, I oppose it because it does not look or feel like what i thought it would. Doesn't He know that, that was not exactly what I meant? I mean, "c'mon Lord, you knew what I meant when I asked you to break me, right? I wanted you to do it gently, taking into consideration my timing and feelings and not so quickly and please, not in this manner. I'm just not ready for this, I've changed my mind."
How many times have I prayed, "Lord, take my life and may it be a sacrifice to you, I will do whatever you ask of me!", but the minute He begins to take those things which I hold so dear to me in order to replace them with Him, I cling tightly to those earthly possessions or things in which I take delight.
How many times have I prayed, "Lord, I will go where you want me to go, I will say what you want me to say!" and then when He presents a situation for me to share my faith or when he pulls on my heartstrings to speak what I feel He is saying to me I retract and begin to question, "Is that really Him or just me?", and I talk myself out of it because of my unpleasant pride or even worse, my embarrassment.
I think my favorite line in that poem is, "You loved the hollow "ROMANCE" of mount calvary But for the crown you will not pay the price". Wow, that is so true! We love to sing about it and pray to "bear our crosses" but when the time comes, do I really do so? Oh how many times I have failed, how many times I've made excuses and out of being hurt I've withdrawn completely because the pressure was just too intense.
Jesus never withdrew, retired or backed away from His chastening. He didn't make excuses or run and hide. He didn't reason with God and try to substitute what God's will was for something a bit more pleasant. He humbly bore a heavy cross upon His back, was beat, mocked, slaughtered, pierced, and blasphemed in front of crowds of people. Those who hated Him, those who once loved Him and those who loved Him. I can't imagine, I really can't. He knew it was for a cause much greater than what His current circumstance was, He knew that the bitterness and sting of death only lasted for a season and the worth was far beyond anything that had ever been paid. He knew that this was the only way that these wretched sinners and reprobates, as well as those who loved Him could be given the gift of life and of fullness. He even forgave those who killed Him because despite their hatred and animosity, they too possess a soul and a soul worth dying for.
Now, tell me how can we expect for our sacrifice to be one without pain and agony? How can we expect our surrender to be sweet? How can I tell God exactly how I want him to break me and use me? Ashamedly I have, and I've thought that it was just fine because of things I have undergone, situations and relationships that have hurt me deeply. I blamed God for forsaking me, I rejected Him by doing my own thing and and I justified it by my pain and anguish. However, nothing I have endured could even come remotely close to the price that was paid for me, absolutely nothing.
May I truly become a living sacrifice, not just one who says it and prays to be but one who truly does lay everything down. The words of the song "Lead me To the Cross" by Brooke Fraser truly speak volumes to me.
"Lead me to the cross where your love poured out
Bring me to my knees, Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself I belong to you
Oh lead me, Lead me to the cross"
Rid me of myself, empty me of me so that when I am faced with opposition and trials I can cling tighter to my Lord.
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:24