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God's Ways


I asked for grace to lift me high

Above the world's depressing cares;

God sent me sorrows,--with a sigh

I said, "He has not heard my prayers."


I asked for light, that I might see

My path along life's thorny road;

But clouds and darkness shadowed me

When I expected light from God.


I asked for peace, that I might rest

To think my sacred duties o'er,

When, lo! such horrors filled my breast

As I had never felt before.


"And, oh," I cried, "can this be prayer

Whose plaints the steadfast mountains move?

Can this be Heaven's prevailing care?

And, O my God, is this Thy love?"


But soon I found that sorrow, worn

As Duty's garment, strength supplies,

And out of darkness meekly borne

Unto the righteous light doth rise.


And soon I found that fears which stirred

My startled soul God's will to do,

On me more lasting peace conferred

Than in life's calm I ever knew. . . .


-- (Author Unknown)






Count each affliction, whether light or grave,

God's messenger sent down to thee; do thou

With courtesy receive him; rise and bow;

And, ere his shadow pass thy threshold, crave

Permission first his heavenly feet to lave;

Then lay before him all thou hast; allow

No cloud of passion to usurp thy brow,

Or mar thy hospitality; no wave

Of mortal tumult to obliterate

Thy soul's marmoreal calmness. Grief should be

Like joy, majestic, equable, sedate;

Confirming, cleansing, raising, making free;

Strong to consume small troubles; to commend

Great thoughts, grave thoughts, thoughts lasting to the end.


-- Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814-1902)




The End is Not Yet


Home by different ways. Yet all

Homeward bound through prayer and praise,

Young with old, and great with small,

Home by different ways.


Many nights and many days

Wind must bluster, rain must fall,

Quake the quicksand, shift the haze.


Life hath called and death will call

Saints who praying kneel at gaze,

Ford the flood or leap the wall,

Home by different ways.


-- Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

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