Poems about God can help us in our understanding of God and God's ways. Often God's ways are mysterious when viewed from our human perspective. It can be helpful to know that others have had the same thoughts that we have. Of course, only the Word of God gives us a complete accurate knowledge of God, but poems about God can motivate and inspire us.
Long pored Saint Austin o'er the sacred page,
And doubt and darkness overspread his mind;
On God's mysterious being thought the Sage,
The Triple Person in one Godhead joined.
The more he thought, the harder did he find
To solve the various doubts which fast arose;
And as a ship, caught by imperious wind,
Tosses where chance its shattered body throws,
So tossed his troubled soul, and nowhere found repose.
Heated and feverish, then he closed his tome,
And went to wander by the ocean-side,
Where the cool breeze at evening loved to come,
Murmuring responsive to the murmuring tide;
And as Augustine o'er its margent wide
Strayed, deeply pondering the puzzling theme,
A little child before him he espied:
In earnest labor did the urchin seem,
Working with heart intent close by the sounding stream.
He looked, and saw the child a hole had scooped,
Shallow and narrow in the shining sand,
O'er which at work the laboring infant stooped,
Still pouring water in with busy hand.
The saint addressed the child in accents bland:
"Fair boy," quoth he, "I pray what toil is thine?
Let me its end and purpose understand."
The boy replied: "An easy task is mine,
To sweep into this hole all the wide ocean's brine."
"O foolish boy!" the saint exclaimed, "to hope
That the broad ocean in that hole should lie!"
"O foolish saint!" exclaimed the boy; "thy scope
Is still more hopeless than the toil I ply,
Who think'st to comprehend God's nature high
In the small compass of thine human wit!
Sooner, Augustine, sooner far, shall I
Confine the ocean in this tiny pit,
Than finite minds conceive God's nature infinite!"
Into the woods my Master went,
Clean forspent, forspent.
Into the woods my Master came,
Forspent with love and shame.
But the olives they were not blind to Him;
The little gray leaves were kind to Him;
The thorn-tree had a mind to Him
When into the woods He came.
Out of the woods my Master went,
And He was well content.
Out of the woods my Master came,
Content with death and shame.
When Death and Shame would woo Him last,
From under the trees they drew Him last:
'Twas on a tree they slew Him--last,
When out of the woods He came.
He might have reared a palace at a word,
Who sometimes had not where to lay His head.
Time was when He who nourished crowds with bread,
Would not one meal unto Himself afford.
He healed another's scratch, His own side bled;
Side, hands and feet with cruel piercings gored.
Twelve legions girded with angelic sword
Stood at His beck, the scorned and buffeted.
Oh, wonderful the wonders left undone!
Yet not more wonderful than those He wrought!
Oh, self-restraint, surpassing human thought!
To have all power, yet be as having none!
Oh, self-denying love, that thought alone
For needs of others, never for its own!
RICHARD CHENEVIX TRENCH
I gave my life for thee,
My precious blood I shed
That thou mightst ransomed be,
And quickened from the dead.
I gave my life for thee;
What hast thou given for me?
I spent long years for thee
In weariness and woe,
That an eternity
Of joy thou mightest know.
I spent long years for thee;
Hast thou spent one for me?
My Father's home of light,
My rainbow-circled throne,
I left, for earthly night,
For wanderings sad and lone.
I left it all for thee;
Hast thou left aught for me?
I suffered much for thee,
More than thy tongue may tell
Of bitterest agony,
To rescue thee from hell.
I suffered much for thee;
What canst thou bear for me?
And I have brought to thee,
Down from my home above,
Salvation full and free,
My pardon and my love.
Great gifts I brought to thee;
What hast thou brought to me?
Oh, let thy life be given,
Thy years for him be spent,
World-fetters all be riven,
And joy with suffering blent;
I gave myself for thee:
Give thou thyself to me!
FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL
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