Tell me this: when did you come into being, and when did your voice disguise itself as His, seducing me into submission? Because it seems you’ve always been here, comforting me like a well-worn coat that hugs tight and soft, made especially for me.

You whisper, against the backdrop of powdered sugar stars and gracious sunsets, that you are the answer to my yearning. “A longing fulfilled is a tree of life,”[1] you breathe the Scripture, and you are that tree, not the one in the garden that cut joyful communion in bloody half.

My chest clenches, and I pray to you, my beloved gods. But a chest clenched in hopes deferred is a sick heart, a heavy heart, and the Voice I’ve rejected says in solidness, “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”[2] But you speak the familiar, well-traveled words, “He is the burden—can’t you see that He is not good?”

I listen to you, again. And when He tilts my chin, gazes into blue eyes He created and says with a quiver in the throat, “I have loved you,” I shake off His touch, meet His eyes with the defiance I think I deserve, and spit, “How have you loved me!?”[3]

In the sober-minded moments, I see you for who you are, a gnashing lie, Sirens bidding me to come just close enough so they can destroy. If you are consummated, the only thing that will be conceived is death, but when I am drunk on lies, death looks like the life I’ve longed for.

But with each year that I try to rescue these dreams that stream through the hourglass I’ve clutched so tightly, I see how burdensome you really are.

Why do I bow down? Why do I try to rescue the burden?[4]

Because I desire too little.[5]

For who can compare to the Lord?[6] Can you? The stars and sunsets you’ve tried to taint are all His, they pour forth speech that points to Him.[7] He has always done what He has promised, but what you promise, you always betray.

I am of a species prone to blindness and forgetfulness. But still He says in faithful repetition, “I have loved you.”

You seduced me, but His grace woos me.

Exchanging despair for joy, I now exchange your yoke for His. And when He tells me yet again of His love, I finally feel the truth of the words He has been singing over me these thirty years.

And I answer Him, in awe, “Oh, how you have loved me.”


[1] Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

[2] Matthew 11: 28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

[3] Malachi 1:2, “’I have loved you,’ says the Lord. But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’”

[4] Isaiah 46: 1-2, “Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beast of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary. They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity.”

[5] C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” “It seems that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday by the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

[6] Isaiah 46: 5, “To whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?”

[7] Psalm 19:1-3, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.”

4 comments

  1. Amen….I am convicted and reminded of what CS Lewis said in the Weight of Glory, which you have above about how we are far too easily pleased

    With the juxtaposition of “who can compare to God, I am reminded of Isa 40:25-31

    25 To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
    26 Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.
    27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”?
    28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
    29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
    30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
    31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

    May we truly come to know him as the bread of life

    Thank you

    Like

    1. Isaiah 40: 25-31–what a great reminder of how no one can compare to God. And I love how in this context, we see that he is incomparable in terms of the rest and strength he gives us–nothing on earth can do the same!

      Like

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