Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (1 Peter 4:12) I. Readily he left his nets, Left the boat to walk upon The water just as Jesus did, Only then to sink within The waves, then be pulled out by hand, Sternly; ye of little faith… Always that tension raging: The will to walk out on the sea, Never leave, never forsake, (Cut the high priest’s servant’s ear); And then the will to run and hide, To warm by fires and deny. And yet this truth: that when old, though Headstrong, he would be taken Where he did not want to go, Dressed in clothes he did not choose, Hanging upside down upon His master’s accursed tree. May I, though just as faithless, Bear to stand out in the cold; May I, though sinking, stand here firm. Though also petrified, may I Think it joy to bear that tree, And in this joy become as rock. II. Damascus-bound and zealous, The fiery one who stood and watched And held the coats while Stephen sang; Orders in his hand to kill, The self-sure orders of the proud, The righteous one in his own eyes. As for zeal, persecutions; As for righteousness, perfect; That inner voice always assures the self. And then, upon Damascus Road, A blinding light, a voice calling. Saul, Saul, I am Jesus Whom you persecute. How long Will you kick against the goads? Why do you kick them, Saul? A silent scream, an inner kneel; A needy, blind walk towards The house on Straight Street to gain eyes; And then – a hesitating step, A faith-step in, a loss of face, To stand inside the house of foes, To stand and wait on mercy. After that: the fall; the dropping of The scales with the drooping of knees, And in Ananias’ inner ear, The voice he heard that told him of An enemy now become a friend And how much he would learn and how Much he would suffer for the Name which had now called him inside. III. Beneath these pillars I fall down, Scarcely bending my proud knees: The rock which spoke of living stones And corner-stones for stumbling, And the worst of sinners who Puts my best attempts to shame. And joy evades on peaceful days While Peter, upside-down in death, And praising and imprisoned Paul Sing their songs of hope while I Drop below the waves and cry at Foolishness and cross-stirred joy. Yet in this truth I am held firm: That rocks are made from trembling knees, And even the most hardened eyes (Ossified and petrified) Can be shown again the light As scales fall off and rocks rise up.