Note to My Readers: from mid-June to mid-August (6/18 - 8/20), I will be taking a summer break from posting new articles for my Thursday and Friday slots. This will only affect my Thursday series on the global growth of Christianity, and my Friday series, the "Theological Bestiary" of birds, both of which will resume in late August. During the summer, I'll be dusting off some of my best essays from the first few years of this blog (a decade ago), as well as my verse play "Thus Ends the World," and re-posting them in the Thursday and Friday slots. All other weekdays will continue to feature new material throughout the summer.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

As Wild as the Woods

Let me be still,

And listen to You.

I hear You best in silence,

In the wonder of this place.

Christ, be real to me here

When I find You nowhere else—

In the mountains,

White with snow;

In the howling, biting wind;

In these woods,

Frozen and lonely

And altogether quiet.

I am driven to the endless wild,

To this refuge from my home

And from the company of friends.

Their love is not enough for me;

I need the silence of God’s love.

And here I run—

To this quiet, desperate place,

Which enfolds me for a time,

But only for a time.

I would die here if I stayed too long,

And these trees that welcome me

With whispers of peace

Are neither tame nor safe

For this hard and broken man.

And so it is with You.

You overwhelm me with peace and power,

The gentle violence of Your grace.

I am not strong enough to drink it full;

I merely taste and tremble,

And walk away renewed.

I need this Presence,

Which would kill me if I stayed

And rested ‘neath its crushing weight.

It is too strong, too pure,

Too wild and untamed;

And I, weary with sin,

Would be shattered by its force.

And so I come here,

To be pounded into shape

In this soft and quiet crucible.

I love this place, this air, this peace;

And someday, before my life is spent,

I will learn to dwell within its shadow,

To walk its trails without fear,

And to rest in One who always is

As wild as the woods.

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