Black Night

Black night, then, great God? You’ve chosen black night
For this your little sheep to wander through,
Cold, shiv’ring, bleating as he follows you
So close behind your steady gate, your sight
Set firmly on your lamb though doubt and fright
Enshroud his moonless route? To him be true!
Lead down a trail that gleams with morning dew
In dawn’s fair light, but please, great God—black night?

Hush now, dear sheep, and shadow close beside
The Maker of the path and of the light
That you so long for; let me be your guide!
Could I not speak and banish dark forthright?
For good I chose this road that you now chide,
So follow on though my choice be black night.

In the Shadow of the Shepherd

Your dear sheep bleats to hear his shepherd’s voice
and longs for revelation of his choice
of what awaits the flock just down the path;
Are stored up long-sought streams or desert’s wrath?
And how long must he wait just out of sight
of what’s around the bend—bleak dark or light?
Small, tired feet desire this day’s close—
to be there now—and yet the shepherd slows
until he halts and stares on up ahead
while silently behind him his sheep dreads
that this stop may be long and hard to bear.
Desiring what’s to come, he trusts his care.
So wait, dear sheep, though bleat all that you will,
for he who’s led you thus far leads you still.

© 2013 Eric Evans

Our Missionary God

The God of all the universe laid out
A plan to spread the glory of his name
To those who’d never heard or seen his fame
That from dead hearts new life and joy might sprout.

Though his creation turned their hardened necks
And stiffened their resolve to serve new gods,
The God who made them sought against all odds
To win them once again as his subjects.

To reclaim his lost, fallen world he chose
A man from Ur to bear his sacred light
And give to all men hope amid their plight:
A coming seed whose wings would bear repose.

Long ages passed and many died yet hoped
In God’s sure promised seed to Abraham.
Then from obscurity stood forth the Lamb,
Yet there before the Light still blind men groped.

He wasn’t conquering King as they perceived
The prophets had foretold would come and save;
Instead he came down secretly to pave
The way to build the kingdom God conceived.

His kingdom, it turned out, was one that’d grow
In fields as God-wrought wheat along with tares
Whose master caught God’s sowers unawares
From their perspective on the earth below.

I AM’s triumphal kingdom would ensue,
Though slowly as a tree does grow in height—
A kingdom hidden from all earthly sight,
While lived and breathed by dead hearts born anew.

Before he sat again at God’s right hand,
He delegated power to his friends
To travel to this wide world’s very ends
That all men might adhere to his command.

Now sealed by Jesus’ Spirit do we go
With boldness ’cross the land and ’cross the sea
To every nation, tribe, and tongue that we
Might live to know him that they, too, might know.

© 2013 Eric Evans

Then Boast

When your mind rocks because of your inept abilities
to judge obscure perplexities, then boast.

When Satan’s power overwhelms the senses, causing you to flit and flitter,
helpless as a falling autumn leaf, then boast.

When your weak flesh has failed in strength and you’re incapable
of bearing one more moment in the fray in your own might, then boast.

When insults well-deserved and laced with piercing truth
cut your already reeling heart like arrows from an expert archer’s bow, then boast.

When your fool mouth is speechless, words escaping your frail mind
in moments too imperative to pass, it seems, without divine remarks, then boast.

When your internal weaknesses inhibit you from tasting victor’s sweet reward
achieved in your own righteousness, then boast.

When messengers of Satan’s host draw near and buffet unrelentingly
the soul already at its breaking point, then boast.

When hardships tear away all earthly comforts,
leaving you without a single foothold as you struggle up the cliff’s sheer face, then boast.

Which mental illness, you may ask, has taken hold so forcefully
that I would bid one boast in utter brokenness?

Not mental illness but new sight affords
the heart sweet joy though it be brought down low.

For there, at rope’s despondent end
and empty barrel’s bottom, Jesus’ grace is found.

It’s there, amid the stench of human weaknesses,
that Jesus makes his power perfect.

So once again I bid your heart and mine to boast when our own frailty manifests itself
to all the world and shame would utterly consume all natural sensibilities.

For when I’m weak, I’m strong, and therefore I will boast so that Christ’s power
might fall hard upon my needy soul and he alone be glorified, not me.

© 2013 Eric Evans

Accepting the Unexplained: Hope After Sandy Hook

“Yet Listen Now”
by Amy Wilson Carmichael

Yet listen now,
Oh, listen with the wondering olive trees,
And the white moon that looked between the leaves,
And gentle earth that shuddered as she felt
Great drops of blood. All torturing questions find
Answer beneath those old grey olive trees.
There, only there, we can take heart to hope
For all lost lambs—Aye, even for ravening wolves.
Oh, there are things done in the world today
Would root up faith, but for Gethsemane.
For Calvary interprets human life;
No path of pain but there we meet our Lord;
And all the strain, the terror and the strife
Die down like waves before His peaceful word,
And nowhere but beside the awful Cross,
And where the olives grow along the hill,
Can we accept the unexplained, the loss,
The crushing agony,—and hold us still.

There are things done in the world today, like the cold-blooded murder of 20 elementary children, that “would root up faith, but for Gethsemane.” That is, I would lose all hope and faith in God in light of such events were it not for the fact that Jesus walked the road of suffering first. There is “no path of pain” that anyone will ever walk that is unfamiliar territory for Jesus. There are no painful trails that any man will ever navigate on which Jesus is not already standing, waiting to embrace those who call on his name.

The reality of Jesus’ horrific death does not lessen our experience of pain. However, the cross does make it clear that pain and suffering do not get the final word. For though Jesus endured the worse death ever crafted by the wicked hearts of man—Roman crucifixion—he also rose again and in so doing offered that very same hope to all those who would believe on his name. The greatest hope any citizen of Newtown could have tonight is that of a crucified and risen savior who offers to them the same hope and joy that allowed him to endure the cross: the hope and joy of an assured resurrection.

May you know this hope, and may it help you “accept the unexplained, the loss.”

Behold the Lamb of God!

“Behold the Lamb of God!” was written by a dear friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous.  Thanks, friend, for your writing!

Behold the Lamb of God!

There once was a man named Abraham
Called by the great I AM
To sacrifice a lamb
His son Isaac

They went up to the top of the hill
Where a ram would be killed
And stood still
To wait for God

As Abraham raised his knife
To take his son’s life
He thought of his wife
And the promise

But Abraham believed God’s Word
Though it seemed quite absurd
Almost as if God had erred
In giving him a son

However, Abraham knew as he reached toward Isaac’s head
That God could raise him from the dead
Because of what He had said
About the nations

“Stop!” the angel said boldly
“Thank you for doing what God hath told thee
But do not slay your son, your only
The Lord will provide”

Although, it wasn’t through the ram that God made a way
For Abraham and his descendants to stand blameless on the judgment day
Because the blood of bulls and goats could never repay
The debt of love we owe

Instead it was his only begotten Son that God gave
To die on the cross, who then rose from the grave
His people to save
The true Lamb of God

So provide the Lord did by sending his Son
The almighty, majestic, glorious, holy One
To do what no Isaac, ram, or earthly lamb could have done
Free us from our sin

Fear Found Deep

There’s fear found deep behind those gentle eyes,
One fierce and raging ’neath a soft disguise
That’s been well practiced and refined, now played
As naturally as wind plays trees—fear weighed
In tons not ounces—fear acquired young
Though you’re not twelve—youth’s song now left unsung.
Like rust to a once well-sharpened knife your fear
Has dulled your wit and left your joy austere.
What ill, unblossomed flower, has wilted you
Before you’ve bloomed? What demon thing has tied
Your heart in chains of fire-wrought fear undue
For ev’n hell’s foulest beast? What judgment’s wide
Enough to turn hell’s black to heaven’s hue
And free your captive heart? God will decide.

© 2012 Eric Evans

The Weight

There is a weight that bows and breaks my back,
A mass too bulky for these arms to raise,
And there atop my weary frame it stays,
A dreadful bulk of binding brown and black.
Oh, would to God that one might grant me slack
From my poor plight and come in pow’r to raze
My load and trade it with a joy that weighs
A trifle yet fulfills my deepest lack.
Yet herein lie the subtleties of pain—
That that which burdens so and works my harm
Is also that which I would soon retain—
As if to cast off bondage were insane!
I hesitate beneath my captive’s charm
And count the cost of fleeing his domain.

© 2012 Eric Evans

Newfound Song’s One-Year Anniversary

My blog turns one
In November of 2011 I began this blog, mostly as an outlet for all the thoughts and poems I had bouncing around my heart and head.  My desire for this site, as stated in the “About this Blog” page, remains the same: “May my words here be songs to your ears.  May the result be a sense of wonder at the greatness of God in saving sinners and a sense of hope that he’s worth trusting in yourself.”  My hope is that these words–these new songs of a man given to him by the God who pulled him up out of the pit and set his feet on solid rock–might affect your heart in such a way that you see him as good and begin to love him and trust him and fear him yourself.

Looking back over this past year
The first poem published on this blog was “Unrestrained.”  My first devotional, besides the welcome, was called “Why I’m a Christian.”

Some of my favorite posts over the past year include:

Feel free to share what you find here with others.  Grace and peace to you as you read.

Click here to read more about the author.

That You Would See

When your young eyes have seen the seasons change
As many times as mine have, when your ears
Have been fine tuned to this world’s harsh discord
And your mind, then mature, perceives the dark
That holds reality in its sure grip—
Right then, at your rope’s end, when Jesus stoops
Down low to stand beside you, will his face
Glow with familiar light because it’s light
You’ve seen before, imperfect though it was?
Will his soft words sound strangely known, as if
His whisper weren’t the first time you had heard
Him speak? And when he there amid the night
Calls you by name, will his voice seem distinct,
Familiar, sweet, because you’ve heard him call
Your name before, your name upon my lips?
When he, in grace, rests his strong hands across
Your shivering back, will you accept their warmth
Because you’ve felt such love before when you
Reached up to take my hand, assured that such
A risk like reaching out was not in vain?
Will you know what it’s like to sleep secure
Beneath the strong right hand of one who loves
You dearly, causing you to rest assured
In him as you once did in weaker strength?
And as you walk your road alone will his
Near presence fill your soul with trembling joy
Because you’d tasted what it’s like to stand
In awe-filled love as you stood near to me?
Or will he seem to you a stranger, child,
One harsh and cold and spiteful, devious, ruled
By wrathful whims instead of self-control
Because that’s what you’d learned of him from me?
Will you have learned to long for him or loathe
His very being because of how I lived?
Will you have learned that he is joy and rest
And thus will you draw near to him because
You found in me, so many years before,
A faint reflection of the love of God
And such a taste gave you a longing just
To drink from my joy’s source and know him, too?
Repaint this sign, dear God, that I might point
With clarity the way to Jesus’ feet.
Look through the cracks in this clay pot, dear child;
May Jesus be the light that shines from me.

© 2012 Eric Evans