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

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Living (and Dying) in Hope

The young oak tree’s slender branches flitted in the late autumn wind. A few dead leaves held on for dear life against the merciless onslaught, but they, too, would surely succumb before the first snow. It had been exquisite just months before—the beneficiary of spring’s endowment of life and green. But that was then. And now, on the brink of Queen Winter’s coronation, naked, lifeless branches were all that were left of the tree’s prior glory. Beholding such a tragic scene, it hit me: This was no accident. By design, the Almighty had let this young tree die.

His out-turned thumb upraised, a man ravaged by cancer posed for what would be one of the last pictures ever taken of him. His gentle smile hid well the blows that life’s autumn wind had been dealing him. He had been so energetic and full of life just months before. But that was then. And now, at the end of his arduous journey, only a shell of the man he had been remained. When he finally closed his eyes for the last time, it was clear that this was no fluke of chance. By design, the good and gracious Father on high had let this beloved man die.

Another man’s blood-soaked hair began to harden in the frigid air of a darkened sky. His out-stretched and out-of-socket arms had slumped in a very unnatural fashion—as had his whole body—and it appeared he might tumble off the beams of his execution at any moment. He had been a regal herald of life and love just months before. But that was then. And now, the victim of an insidious plot, what was left of his scourged and hated body hung exposed as an example to all of what one earns as a rebel against Caesar and as an outsider to man-centered religion. Viewing this ghastly scene some 2,000 years later, it’s striking: This was no mere happenstance. By design, the merciful and just Guard and Guardian of all creation watched as he let his dear Son die.

Wintering trees and dying men suddenly take on new meaning in light of the death of the Son of God. God didn’t merely let his Son die. He let his Son die in hope that his death would result in the rescue of many. He doesn’t merely let trees lose all their leaves and expire each fall. He lets them die in hope of the coming spring. And God doesn’t merely let his deeply-loved creations weaken and fail physically. He lets them die in hope that their last breath here will mark their first in his presence.

This life is a hallway, and death is the door at its end that our good God lets his beloved children pass through on their way to something better. He himself is that something better. We can have the hope that come cold, cancer, or crucifixion, there is a good design in it, and an amazing hope awaits us just beyond it. You can have this hope today. “God is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

Gary Fiscus, a long-time music educator, passed away on Friday, September 7, 2012 after a long battle with cancer.

The Decree

The midday sun blazed hot above his head,
And lifting up his gaze toward yonder sphere
Of burning light, a thought struck hard and spread
Across his tired mind and soon did sear
His soul as hot iron brands a cow’s thick hide.
Enraptured by the radiant glow, all fear,
Though proper ’neath the sun, was laid aside
And lust for what he shouldn’t want did grow
Up in its place, misgivings all denied.
It was a rather simple thought, although
Not bright, and yet it took him all the same:
“The sun, the source of light, decides to show
Or hide this world to farmers. We declaim
The moon-held night when work is lost to dreams
And we reap lesser yields come fall. I’ll tame
That sun and force his all-resplendent beams
To cast their light from dusk to morning’s dawn
As well as in the day. Yes, well it seems
To such a lowly farmer set upon
Nothing but his and other farmers’ good.”
And so the fool impelled his burly brawn
Toward wrangling in the sun, so out he stood
Beneath the sprawling sky with bricks in hand
And laid a firm foundation. Then with wood
He built the sturdy walls of what he planned
To be his tow’r atop which he would rope
The raging beast and cause it there to stand
Mid-flight across the navy sky with hope
Of making his small farm forever day,
Not grasping his rash aim’s enormous scope.
Till one day to the farmer’s great dismay,
He finally let his lasso loose to seize
The sun and all at once his plans fell prey
To harsh realities that didn’t please
The fool as his rope came up far too short
To catch the sun, which only worked to tease
His reckless heart to furthermore assort
Yet more plots that would bring his longed for end.
If not a tow’r, perhaps he’d just extort
The sun’s cooperation and contend
Directly with the king of heav’n and earth
To see whose will would be the first to bend.
So, never recognizing blatant dearth
Of potency on his part, eyes on high,
The farmer swelled his chest to fullest girth
And dared the sun to straight away comply
With his demand that he suspend his flight.
The sun, not even pausing, did defy
The call, soon disappearing out of sight.
The farmer, left alone, began to see
His place beneath the sun there in the night.
The sun is never forced by man’s decree.
Great God, you are the sun; the farmer’s me.

© 2012 Eric Evans

Mere Moments

A stalwart, loaded beast of arid lands
Trod slowly over scorching desert sands,
Until one final straw was rashly thrown
Atop his hump and broke him as if stone.

A negligible breeze unnoticed by
The captain or his men ’neath sapphire sky
In silence slowly charts an unplanned course
Toward frigid waters, icebergs, and remorse.

An untied shoe at intersection’s edge
Held up a little girl atop curb’s ledge
Just long enough for Dad to grab her hand
And stay her urge to run as she had planned.

Mere moments stir up ripples then create
The crashing waves that dictate one’s whole fate.

© 2012 Eric Evans

Now Stand

God fells a tree to forest’s floor
that fainting fledglings might see sun.
God raises rotting roots to plant
resistant, righteous ones that that grow
deep down, resisting fiercest rain.
God breaks a man that he might build
him better than he was before.

Great God, and now you bid me stand?
How can you bid me stand in strength
when you in sweetest sovereignty
secured my swift and sure demise
and devastated my whole world?
Is this some kind of hateful joke?
Am I to stand up tall or die?

The tree falls for the fledgling’s sake,
and rot is rooted up for life.
It seems, then, God has broken me
that I might be rebuilt to stand,
for standing is impossible
with malformed legs that can’t hold weight.
Now wrecked and built anew, they stand.

© 2011 Eric Evans

Undone

As master masons lay foundations strong,
The Lord, too, laid the bricks beneath the earth,
Full knowing it’s dimensions, height and girth,
While angels overflowed in joyful song.
He charges seas that they not pass beyond
The limit set for them by sovereign will.
Proud, raging waves are stayed by his hand still;
As slaves to master’s call do they respond.
His fingers rule the skies where dwells the sun.
His feet traverse the valleys of the deep.
He knows where every creature roams and creeps.
Below him I’m dumbfounded and undone.
What joy when God is big and I am small!
What rapture mine to come and prostrate fall!

© 2011 Eric Evans

God Come

God.

God is.

God is good.

God is good and holy.

God is good, holy, and loving.

God is good, holy, loving, and wise.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so come.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so come to him.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so run to him.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so run to him and not away from him.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so run to him and not away from him when it hurts.

When it hurts, God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise,

even when you aren’t able perceive it, so run to him and not away from him.

When it hurts, run to the God who is infinitely good, holy, loving and wise,

and not away from him,

even when you aren’t able to perceive

his goodness, his holiness, his love, and his wisdom.

Even when you aren’t able to perceive God, God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise,

so run to him and not away from him when it hurts.

Even when you aren’t able to perceive God when it hurts,

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise,

so run to him and not away from him.

Run to God and not away from him when it hurts because God is infinitely good, holy,

loving, and wise, even when you can’t perceive it.

Flea to God with all your mind and don’t you dare run away from him when it hurts

because God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise,

even when you can’t perceive him.

Run to the infinitely good, infinitely holy, infinitely wise, and infinitely loving God

when it hurts instead of running away from him, even if you can’t perceive him.

Run to the infinitely good, infinitely holy, infinitely wise, and infinitely loving God

instead of running away from him, even if you can’t perceive him when it hurts.

God is infinitely good when it hurts,

infinitely holy when it hurts,

infinitely loving when it hurts,

and infinitely wise when it hurts,

even when you aren’t able perceive it,

so run to him and not away from him.

God is infinitely good when it hurts, even if you aren’t able to perceive it;

infinitely holy when it hurts, even if you aren’t able to perceive it;

infinitely loving when it hurts, even if you aren’t able to perceive it;

and infinitely wise when it hurts, even if you aren’t able to perceive it;

so run to him and not away from him.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so run to him and not away from him when it hurts.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so run to him and not away from him.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise,

even when you aren’t,

so run to him and not away from him.

God is good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t,

so run to him and not away from him.

God is good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t, so run to him.

God is good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t, so come to him.

God is good, even when you aren’t, so come to him.

God is good, so come to him.

God is good, so come.

God is, so come.

God, come.

Come.

 

© 2011 Eric Evans

Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right

by Samuel Rodigast (1649-1708)

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
His holy will abideth;
I will be still whate’er He doth;
And follow where He guideth;
He is my God; though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to Him I leave it all.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path:
I know He will not leave me.
I take, content, what He hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait His day.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
His loving thought attends me;
No poison can be in the cup
That my Physician sends me.
My God is true; each morn anew
I’ll trust His grace unending,
My life to Him commending.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He is my Friend and Father;
He suffers naught to do me harm,
Though many storms may gather,
Now I may know both joy and woe,
Some day I shall see clearly
That He hath loved me dearly.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it, all unshrinking.
My God is true; each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet I am not forsaken.
My Father’s care is round me there;
He holds me that I shall not fall:
And so to Him I leave it all.

It’ll Make a Good Scar Someday

A little boy in mud-stained jeans
Atop his small, red bike takes off
And peddles hard down a cracked sidewalk.
In tow proud dad lifts tired gaze
In time to witness his dear boy
At last achieve his longed for dream.

But then, as first times sometimes do,
Son’s takes a fateful turn as soon
As he realizes dad’s strong hand
Has left the seat of his red bike.
Now lacking confidence he jerks
The bike and meets the street beneath.

Dad, catching up to his hurt son,
Untangles him from his wrecked bike.
His muddy knees are now stained red,
And tears stream down his pain-filled face.
Son cries and asks, “What happened, Dad?”
As he holds son close dad whispers,

“One day the pain of your skinned knee
Will cease, and all you’ll see will be
A mark, a witness, of this day.
Though now the ‘why’ is so unclear,
One day the scar will bring a smile,
When then, at last, you see its end.
It will make a good scar someday.”

A teenage boy in prime of life
Drives hard down field with seconds left.
With ball clutched close and eyes closed tight,
He charges forward at full speed.
The crowd screams loud and dad looks on
As son cuts distance to the goal.

But then, as long drives sometimes go,
A misplaced step on unev’n ground
Breaks son’s steady stride. He stumbles.
With all breaths’ held, son trips and falls.
His firm grip breaks; the ball is lost.
The scout has surely taken note.

As son lies stunned, sprawled on the ground,
He lifts his eyes in time to see
His enemy fall hard atop
The ball as time is up. They’ve lost.
Son hangs his head low, asking, “Why?”
But through the din he hears dad say,

“One day the pain of shattered dreams
Will cease, and all you’ll see will be
A mark, a witness, of this day.
Though now the ‘why’ is so unclear,
One day the scar will bring a smile,
When then, at last, you see its end.
It will make a good scar someday.”

A businessman, in suit and tie,
Is sure today will be the day.
His hopes run high for one account
That’s sure to yield impressive gains
And benefit his company.
He quickly makes his way to work.

But then, as life unfolds at times,
The businessman arrives to work
And finds a notice on his desk.
In one half second all is changed
By one pink note left by his boss.
The man cannot believe his eyes.

How could it be after so long
A faithful stint as he had served,
That now, like that, his career’s through?
Still dazed, and longing just to know
“Why now?”, the man collects his things.
Then softly through the grief he hears,

“Ev’n this pain of deep betrayal
Will cease, and all you’ll see will be
A mark, a witness, of this day.
Though now the ‘why’ is so unclear,
One day the scar will bring a smile,
When then, at last, you see its end.
It will make a good scar someday.”

Though from our point of view life seems
Like random acts of careless twists,
Who else but God could design this:
Young football star turned businessman,
Who’s then let go at career’s peak,
Becomes a businessman for Christ
In foreign markets void of light.

© 2011 Eric Evans

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

By Anne Steele (1716-1778)

Dear refuge of my weary soul,
On thee when sorrows rise;
On thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies.

While hope revives, though pressed with fears,
And I can say, “My God,”
Beneath thy feet I spread my cares,
And pour my woes abroad.

To thee I tell each rising grief,
For thou alone canst heal;
Thy word can bring a sweet relief,
For every pain I feel.

But oh! when gloomy doubts prevail
I fear to call thee mine;
The springs of comfort seem to fail
And all my hopes decline.

Yet gracious God, where shall I flee?
Thou art my only trust;
And still my soul would cleave to thee,
Though prostrate in the dust.

Hast thou not bid me seek thy face?
And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace
Be deaf when I complain?

No, still the ear of sovereign grace
Attends the mourner’s prayer;
O may I ever find access,
To breathe my sorrows there.

Thy mercy-seat is open still;
Here let my soul retreat,
With humble hope attend thy will,
And wait beneath thy feet.