This is a poem I wrote back in 1998 (2 years prior to my conversion). When I was 16, I “gave my life to Christ.” However, I never considered myself to be a Christian, because I could never “act” or “be” Christian. I spent 9 years (1991 to 2000) wrestling with the fact that I couldn’t follow the “law” to the tee. I read and reread the book of Proverbs, which contained all that I believed I needed to do to be righteous and holy (the words of Proverbs are unreadable in my first bible, they were underlined so many times). Yet, daily I failed miserably. If I ever felt like I was “getting it,” I was most certainly destined for a major failure, which would dash my fragile and robust pride to the rocks, thus, leaving me hopeless, helpless, and near despair. The poem that follows was written out of one of those failures…
Even after my conversion in December of 2000, I still wrestled with a strong theology of Glory and subsequent failure and condemnation. It wasn’t until the fall of 2007, trough some pretty amazing friendships and a handful of major failures despite all my “striving,” that I felt the refreshing shower of True Grace over my life. Now, as I read this poem written 15 years ago, I realize how unimportant it is for me to do anything–for my hard works will only lead to pride, and pride will lead to judgment/condemnation, and this is a wretched existence. In a nutshell, this poem paints a picture of giving up that ends in landing in Grace by His accord and not by one’s own efforts. It is by Grace that God has clutched me, has clutched us in His hand and rescued us from the pit of Hell. Grace is not the result of anything we can do or can we acquire it (or more of it) by our own will/works. Grace is a gift; a gift the God of the universe has spoken and has given to us freely. May we bow our heads, in prayer, saying “Grace”…
In the fit of the final hours you feel the shackle.
Tightly clamped to a thin bony ankle;
Gripping to the surface of level ground,
You feel the pull forcefully down.
With tips of fingers painted white
From the force of earth against hand tight;
You glance toward the steadfast pull,
“Nothing there,” you gasp, breathing partly full.
Pieces of dirt crumble from your hands and pressure
Falling quickly, soundlessly into the inhaling fissure.
The more you pull and the more you fight,
The tighter the clamp resists your mere human might.
Darkness’ clouds come rolling, God-Speed, in.
The shackle tightens, triggering each and every last sin.
As you turn inward and ponder all evil deeds,
You can hear the foreboding chant of evil’s creeds.
With every thought you forget your grip for life,
Giving way for darkness’ discontent and strife.
Without forewarning your left hand does slip,
Falling, quickly, into Death’s tight grip.
Weakness remaining, you realize you have no chance
To escape from this Hell, this demon like trance.
“Please help me!” yelled out loud
Hoping to see some light through the cloud.
Your last strength gives way
Breathing dust, soot, and clay;
Expecting to fall into that eternal night,
Christ’s hand grabs yours steadfast and tight.
Pulling you from darkness and out of despair,
Your soul he has rescued and repaired.
Previously published on Mbird.com (http://www.mbird.com/2008/12/grace/)