The Lowly and the Proud

Today’s poem was inspired by a passage I have been reading from 1 Samuel this week. We will be looking at this passage in my church this week and, because I am leading the service, I have been reading the passage and thinking about what it means for God to be a God of the helpless. Sometimes our problem as people does not seem to be that we are helpless, for God comes to our aid when that is the case, but because we are not truly helpless – we still depend on ourselves too much, and so do not fully know His provision. I have tried to capture some of that tension with this poem. It’s written as a virelai, which is an old French poetic form that I’ve been trying to revive in English. I like the simplicity and repetition of the rhymes in this form – it helps to express something of the childlike faith that we need to find, a faith that is often awkward and difficult for our adult minds to grasp or accept.

The Lowly and the Proud

The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.

(1 Samuel 2:7-8a)

Lord, I am poor
Yet proud; my heart implores
To know Your rich stores
Of grace heaped onto my pride.

Your grace like rain, it pours
And pours
And quenches my insides –
The fires that rage and scores
Of wars
Within me – yet I hide
The truth before
Your sight. Do You restore
What’s not humbled? Do You chide?

Lord, I am poor
Yet proud; my heart implores
To know Your rich stores
Of grace. Heap it on my pride.

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