Grace, eight or nine years old

Samuel the priest, leading Israel through a process of repentance and then seeing them defeating their old enemies the Philistines, set up a stone monument where they had been victorious and named it “Ebenezer”, meaning “Stone of Help”, declaring that “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

In the midst of our busy and often stressful lives, it can be easy to forget the many ways that God provides for us and the many victories that we have experienced through Him. Knowing my own tendency to forget God’s provision for me, I have decided to write and post a series of poems about key moments in the development of my faith over the years. This is a poem I wrote a few years ago but which serves well as a starting point, the first in a series of Ebenezer stones in my life.

Grace, eight or nine years old
 
A lonely night;
guilt like fetters
(unexpected; unexplained)
enclosing.
A burst of tears:
my spirit’s rain;
the knowledge – hard
and sudden – that
this is me:
a sight of me
unknown to me,
a vision of
myself as doomed.
 
Yet from space
and nothing, grace
as lovehand reaches,
takes, embraces
deeper than skin,
deeper than
muscles, and
massages heartstrings.
Joyful, I sing.
(Is this all no
more than the
half-sleeping fancy
of a child
feeling sad?
I cannot tell,
but this I know:
my heart then leapt
rejoiced like
never before.)

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