So much there was of me, O God,
When at the first you deigned to come my way.
So filled with good resolve was I
To give my life to you—“Please take it all, O God, I pray.”
“All that I am and hope to be.
O hear again the fervent prayer I give.
All else in life is meaningless
And vain—for you and you alone forever would I live.”
Could human heart be more devout?
Or give so much, or lay the soul so bare?
Has not the Master now His prize?
And did the angels not rejoice at loving gift so fair?
Were not these words the ones with which
I came to you in sacred sacrifice,
And knelt in brokenness before your throne
And gave to you my all and prayed, O God, it would suffice?
The price seemed not too much to pay.
Serenity replaced the frenzied pace
With which one sought fulfillment vain.
What need had one for aught beside the wonder of God’s grace?
So new was all and filled with light;
With eagerness I sought to know His Word.
Though troubles came and trials sore,
Yet, what could e’er becloud the sweet communion with my Lord?
And then it came—the darkness black
So slowly stealing—turning day to night
O’ershadowing the face of Christ,
With human thoughts and fears emerging in the fading light.
And peace, too, fled away, and trust.
Before the overwhelming tide of doubt
And turbulence, while in the din
The Master’s voice was fading as the tempter drowned Him out.
And thus there came in strident tone
The mocking voice I once had known so well.
“Where now is He—this God of yours?
And where the sweet companion that you claim had come to dwell?”
“Your thought He cared, this God of yours.
It really was a scam, you surely see.
Your were not good enough for Him;
You were not of the holy realm, nor could you ever be.”
“You gave to Him your life, your all;
But He despised the gift and let you live
In wretchedness—a worthless thing—
Though it was yet to you the whole of all you had to give.”
“Abandon now your mystic dreams;
And as for God—His way is not for you.
He does not seem to hear your cry
For true fulfillment and important things for you to do.”
“But stay, no need for vain regret.
Let not your time and talent go awaste.
Take back your gift—recover that
Which once, naive, you gave to Him in brokenness.”
“Let others talk of holy things
And chase the fantasies of selflessness
‘Tis much too hard for you to bear
You need a life of your own choosing—free of trial and stress.”
“Oh wretchness! Oh misery!”
The sinking heart cries out in blind despair.
“I have no faith; I have no hope.
The words the prince of darkness speaks, I can no longer bear.
Where are you God? Why have you left?
Oh why did you despise the gift I gave?
Was it not good enough for you?
Is there too much in me of earth for even you to save?”
Comes then from deep within the shade
A thought, a whisper (whatso’er it be).
“I ne’er have left you, foolish one;
There is no darkness black enough to hide your heart from me.”
“But why could not I see or hear?”
“‘Twas not because you did not have enough;
It was because you had too much.
And soon your efforts noble took my place and cut me off.”
“There is not gift the flesh can give
But what the taint of sin will bring to naught.
So come in nothingness to me.
Bereft of all but broken heart, for that my blood has bought.
“The light you trusted in was yours—
The human lamp of faithfulness and zeal.
And all the night that swept your soul,
The failure of that human torch—the light you thought was real.
“You could not see, beyond the soul,
The Spirit-citadel of faith and light.
There was no darkness there at all,
While you, without the walls in dark despair did mourn your plight.
“For moment small my face was hid
By all the good there was yet left of you.
You did not know you gave me naught
Without my Holy Spirit there is nothing you can do.”