Tuesday’s Torch 525
February 26, 2019
Today I would like to share a poem that I stumbled across. I did not write it and the only name I have for the author is Tyler. So my thanks go out to him for this weeks message. As someone recovering from addiction and from the devastating consequences of sin and bad decisions, these words pierce my heart. For context I will set the scene. Picture if you will the tree of life full of wonderful fruit. And leading to this tree is an iron rod, a handrail if you will. For our purposes today we will liken this rod to righteous living, keeping the commandments, living the gospel.
The rod of iron passes through a dark mist and past a deep river and a great and spacious building full of people. This represents the darkness of sin and the carnal nature of the world trying to stop those who seek God. Trying to get them to disappear and be lost in the darkness or to ultimately join them in worldly living. I’ll try to make it through this poem without getting too choked up. I have read it a few times and I haven’t made it through with dry eyes yet.
Turning into the Light
From far away I saw the Tree
And grasped the iron rod,
And pressing forward through the mist,
The narrow path I trod.
But faltering along the path,
I slowed and dropped my gaze.
From shining Tree I turned and saw
A building through the haze.
It towered high above the ground,
And people fine and proud
From ev’ry doorway beckoned me
To come and join the crowd.
But though the scene was glamorous,
It filled my heart with dread.
I turned away and fixed my view
On path and Tree ahead.
Yet ever as my feet moved on,
My thoughts dwelt on the crowd,
Which mocked my struggle down below
In voices harsh and loud.
The mist pressed close around me now;
I felt its tender strands
That pulled so softly at my feet,
So gently at my hands.
One strand sang sweetly in my ear,
A soothing melody:
“Why walk this path so long and hard?
Come with us and be free!”
Relaxing grip upon the rod
And view upon the Tree,
I checked my pace and glanced around,
Intrigued by what I’d see.
The fog obscured the distant scene
That I could not resist.
I soon had left the pathway and
Was walking in the mist.
The threads of shadow pulled me on.
The night grew dark and cold—
My only warmth from thick’ning cords
That now took greater hold.
Then streaming from the distant Tree,
A beam of light did shine,
And I perceived these gentle cords
Were chains of dark design.
At once my bonds were loosened and
Gave way before the light.
But fearing now to lose their touch,
I turned into the night.
I stumbled down my unseen path,
Uncertain and confused.
O’er rocks and pits I fell until
My hands and knees were bruised.
The cords that led so gently once
Now pulled a frantic pace,
And tripping down one final slope,
I fell upon my face.
Then glancing up, my eyes beheld
A river dark and deep,
And kneeling on that sandy shore,
I soon began to weep.
I shuddered at my bitter fate:
Afraid and lost, alone.
Why had I wandered from the path
And left the truth I’d known?
I stood once more on weary feet
And summoned all my will,
Determined to retrace my steps
Back up the treach’rous hill.
But though I tried to climb the bank,
The cords would give no slack,
And whipping at my arms and legs,
They roughly pulled me back.
Then wrapping ‘round my chest and waist
And tightening their hold,
They dragged me down the sandy bank
Into the water cold.
These chains, not soft but sharp and hard,
Cut short my desperate scream,
And laughing in my ears they pulled
Me ‘neath the murky stream.
Oh what an end for one so blessed,
Whose fate had seemed so fair!
I fell through icy darkness as
Regret turned to despair.
But as I sank into the depths,
My mind caught on the Tree,
And straightway from my heart I cried,
“Dear Savior, rescue me!”
Then suddenly a light appeared
Above me on the sand,
And Jesus, kneeling on the shore,
Reached down and took my hand.
And as He made to raise me up,
My heart was filled with peace,
But still the heavy chains would not
Their rightful prize release.
I wondered then, “What could He do?”
I knew the law’s demand.
But reaching down, He grasped a chain
With His almighty hand.
The razor edges cut Him, but
The chain broke with a crack
And lashing out in fury left
A gash upon His back.
He reached again and broke once more
A heavy chain of sin.
It too recoiled, biting deep
Into His precious skin.
And each strong cord that He undid
Sprang back with all its might
And threw upon that Guiltless One
A vicious blow of spite.
When I could bear no more I cried,
“I don’t deserve such grace!
It is not fair that you should bleed
And suffer in my place!”
With no response, He carried on.
The final chain fell slack.
He lifted me—from bonds set free!—
And placed me on His back.
I clung to Him as one new-born,
His blood mixed with my tears.
Somehow His love had conquered sin
And quieted my fears.
And though I hoped He’d bring me to
The Tree with no delay,
Instead He set me on the path
Where first my feet did stray—
Then very gently placed my hand
Back on the iron rod
And for a while walked with me,
The pathway home to God.
“Remember,” He in parting said,
“My love and sacrifice,
But don’t forget, though great the cost,
That you are worth the price.”
So through the mists I struggle on,
A slow, unsteady pace,
Relying every step upon
His mercy, love, and grace.
And someday when I’ve reached the Tree,
I’ll fall down at the feet
Of Him who drank the bitter cup
And made this fruit so sweet.
In closing. We are never too far gone for the Savior to reach down and lift us back up out of the darkness and despair that sin always leads to. I have spent almost all of my adult life caught in darkness deeper than anyone could imagine. Poor decisions combined with addictions and personal weaknesses left me trapped in darkness with no idea how to escape.
That way is Jesus Christ. Though I am far from where I need to be, by the grace of God I’m at least back on the path. To those of you who haven’t strayed, hallelujah, keep going! For those who like me fell off track, come back. Join me. We can get through this! Turn towards the light! Turn towards Jesus! You are worth it! We all are. The price has already been paid. Accept the gift that only He can give! In His name, the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16