I’d like to share with you today a few discontinuous stanzas from George MacDonald’s A Book of Strife in the Form of a Diary of an Old Soul, which it is my good fortune recently to have discovered. It’s just a bit of good, old-fashioned Christian poetry (he died in 1905), and perhaps a bit of timely medicine for a weary heart.
My Lord, I find that nothing else will do,
But follow where thou goest, sit at thy feet,
And where I have thee not, still run to meet.
Roses are scentless, hopeless are the morns,
Rest is but weakness, laughter crackling thorns,
If thou, the Truth, do not make them the true;
Thou art my life, O Christ, and nothing else will do.
Lord, I have fallen again—a human clod!
Selfish I was, and heedless to offend;
Stood on my rights. Thy own child would not send
Away his shreds of nothing for the whole God!
Wretched, to thee who savest, low I bend:
Give me the power to let my rag-rights go
In the great wind that from thy gulf doth blow.
I cannot see, my God, a reason why
From morn to night I go not gladsome, free;
For, if thou art what my soul thinketh thee,
There is no burden but should lightly lie,
No duty but a joy at heart must be.
Love’s perfect will can be nor sore nor small,
For God is light—in him no darkness is at all.
O Christ, my life, possess me utterly.
Take me and make a little Christ of me.
If I am anything but thy Father’s son,
‘Tis something not yet from the darkness won.
Oh, give me light to live with open eyes.
Oh, give me life to hope above all skies.
Give me thy Spirit to haunt the Father with my cries.
‘Tis heart on heart thou rulest. Thou art the same
At God’s right hand as here exposed to shame.
And therefore workest now as thou didst then—
Feeding the faint divine in humble men,
Through all thy realms from thee goes out heart-power,
Working the holy, satisfying hour
When all shall love, and all be love again.