This poem, by the famous 19th century missionary, Amy Carmichael, is in some ways one of the scariest I have ever read. it demands everything. And yet, when we come to the place where nothing makes sense, and we feel like God has taken a U-turn in our lives, away from His promises, this is comfort.God never took His eye off Job, and His purposes for us are sometimes so different from our purposes for ourselves (and I mean our "good" purposes, not just self-indulgence) .. On Monday night in our small group we were looking at John 11 and I suggested that often we come asking God for a renewal, a refreshing, a bit of water for our drought, when what He wants to give us is death and resurrection ..
"'But these strange ashes, Lord, this nothingness,
This baffling sense of loss?'
Son, was the anguish of my stripping less
Upon the torturing cross?
Was I not brought into the dust of death,
A worm, and no man, I;
Yea, turned to ashes by the vehement breath
Of fire, on Calvary?
O son beloved, this is thy heart's desire:
This, and no other thing'
Follows the fall of the Consuming Fire
On the burnt offering.
Go on and taste the joy set high, afar,--
No joy like that to thee;
See how it lights the way like some great star.
Come now, and follow me."