I have been reading the memoirs of my mentor, James Houston. God has given him a rich and rewarding life as leader in the Evangelical spirituality movement. He is now 98 years old. His books and recordings have impacted my life, just when I needed the wisdom and insight he was able to offer. I am eternally grateful for the influence of Dr. Houston at the right time in my life.
At the beginning of his book he shares a previously unpublished poem from John Innes. I want to quote the whole poem, because it reflects so much of my journey with Jesus. I hope it will be an encouragement for someone reading this blog.
“Dear love! Your love, that flows through Calvary, springs through my heart – like fountains in the night. Flushes clean the dawn, lifelines my drowning plight, breaks loose my weighting chains and buoys me free
Great Mystery! I can but ask, “Why me, a savage soul, whose life of fumbling flight, crept underground in catacombed delights, remaining shamefully where none could see?”
O Grace! I breathe, inhaling you in me, exhaling sighs of thanks for your invite. You, touching me, dis-covering me of fright , transforming lonely ‘I’ to glorious ‘We.’
Entombing deadness darkness rolls away, reviving Life in Love’s embracing way.”
I must confess that I am not drawn to poems. But for some reason this poem has spoken to my heart. Here is what it is saying to me.
First stanza – “Thank you, Jesus for freeing me from myself!” The love of God, demonstrated by Jesus suffering on the cross, is a fierce love flowing and reaching out to rescue me. My heavenly Father desires that His love would fill the emptiness of my heart. “Like fountains in the night,” I do not have to preform or understand, just learn to receive this inflow. This inflow “flushes” me clean, recuses me from my “plights,” “breaks loose” the chains within, and “buoys” me in freedom. “I thank you Jesus for the new found freedom in me.”
The second stanza – “Thank you, Jesus for coming to my deepest place and rescuing me from myself!” The “Great Mystery” is the deep, deep love of Jesus for me. In fact He actually likes me. He “crept underground” into my “savage soul,” to those dark and shameful places within my heart, shedding His bright, flaming love for me. The great wonder is that he was not surprised at what he found.
Third stanza – “Thank you, Jesus for the infilling of your spirit!” I receive the grace of God. It is as simply as “inhaling” life moment by moment. Then in “exhaling” I give eternal thanks for knowing He always welcomes me home. Jesus you touched me at my deepest place, while I was in “flight,” fleeing in my shame and insecurity. Indeed you transformed a “lonely ‘I'” to a “glorious ‘We.'”
Finally- “Thank you, Jesus for calling me out of my tomb!” You broke through the years of misunderstanding and neglect, that entombed me in my “deadness” and “darkness.” The door to my tomb “rolled away.” You brought me out into the bright light of you overflowing love. Your loving embrace, brought life to this sick, dying soul, and made me new.
I “thank you, Jesus” for reaching deep within, allowing me to live for you, not by my effort or knowledge, but knowing you have turned my lonely “I” into a glorious “we.” You did what I could never do.
Many my interpretation of this wonderful poem set a fellow pilgrim free to live for Jesus.