Monday, 5 August 2013


When My Heart is Vexed, I Will Complain (C. Rossetti)
"O Lord, how canst Thou say Thou lovest me? Me whom thou settest in a barren land, Hungry and thirsty on the burning sand, Hungry and thirsty where no waters be Nor shadows of date-bearing tree: -O Lord, how canst Thou say Thou lovest me?"
"I came from Edom by as parched a track,
As rough a track beneath My bleeding feet. I came from Edom seeking thee, and sweet I counted bitterness; I turned not back But counted life as death, and trod The winepress all alone: and I am God."
"Yet, Lord, how canst Thou say Thou lovest me?
For Thou art strong to comfort: and could I But comfort one I love, who, like to die, Lifts feeble hands and eyes that fail to see In one last prayer for comfort - nay, I could not stand aside or turn away."
"Alas! thou knowest that for thee I died
For thee I thirsted with the dying thirst; I, Blessed, for thy sake was counted cursed, In sight of men and angels crucified: All this and more I bore to prove My love, and wilt thou yet mistrust My love?"
"Lord, I am fain to think Thou lovest me,
For Thou art all in all and I am Thine; And lo! Thy love is better than new wine, And I am sick of love in loving Thee. But dost Thou love me? speak and save, For jealousy is cruel as the grave."
"Nay, if thy love is not an empty breath
My love is as thine own - deep answers deep. Peace, peace: I give to my beloved sleep, Not death but sleep, for love is strong as death: Take patience; sweet thy sleep shall be, Yea, thou shalt wake in Paradise with Me."
O God, stop my mouth. Still my complaint. Silence my crying. Give me grace to accept all from Your hand. Let me  have strength to go forward in the knowledge of You. Teach me to say, whatever comes, "Your will, not mine, be done." Show me how to wait for Your giving. Make me able to let go of all into your hand.

Truly, Father, I want to do these things! I want to honor You with myself, a living sacrifice. Why am I so unable to rest in You? Why am I so blind, so restless? Why can I not bow before you with singing? I know what You can do. I know who You are. I have known, in the past, peace in the storm, joy in trouble, rest from fear. I have been fed by Your hand. I am so ashamed that I have seemingly come further and become less. If this poverty of soul comes from some choice of mine, then I renounce it, Lord! You are good. If I have refused Your goodness; if I am blinded by wanting my own way, then I am willing to be changed. Set me free, O God, from myself. Restore my spiritual eyesight and my joy. 

I can bend my body; I can direct my mind and draw it in again when it goes wandering - but what can I do with a heart that will not joy in You, except come to You for healing? I may make plans and prohibitions, may remonstrate, may rationalize and resolve; but I am deceived, betrayed from within! 

Yet I place my hope in You, great God. You have shed your own blood, and Yours is the right to bring all things into line with Love. You will not leave me adrift. Creator and Redeemer, You alone have the right to re-order me. I cannot change myself, but You can change me. Give me the strength to deny the arrogant self that asserts itself and betrays me; let me find rest for my weary heart in You. Teach me Your way. Still my clamoring heart. Let me look straight ahead. Make me courageous. Give me warm joy. Remind me how to sing hope-songs in the dark.

I am all a-jumble. Set me upright, and help me to see things as I once saw them. Jesus who died, my heart is Yours. Turn me to You and teach me to love what You love.

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