The podcast at the end of this article is called: Jesus Is Coming!
My life as a poet was short and not particularly sweet. It may have hit its high point somewhere around the eighth grade with this limerick:
“There was a hog named fat,
Who had a personal fight with a cat,
He hit the cat hard, with all of his lard,
And knocked the little cat flat.”
Really speaks to your heart, doesn’t it? I know people who’ve done better, though. Consider this stirring love poem that bubbled from the heart of a friend from my college days. Thinking of his true love (one of them anyway) he wrote:
“If all the world were a smelly foot,
Then I, a little toe would be.
And I’d wish that you were athlete’s foot,
So you’d be very close to me.”
They just don’t write poetry like that anymore. (Marvin, if you’re reading this, I’ll be glad to give you credit. I just wasn’t sure that you still wanted your name associated with that).
I’m not really into most poetry. Poems and paintings are alike to me—if you have to explain them it’s already a lost cause. I’ll have to admit though, that bits of poetry that I have understood have spoken powerfully to me over the years.
When I read the boast, “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul,” in W.E. Henley’s poem Invictus, I think hard about Who is really Master of my life.
And yes, even a hopeless unromantic like me twinges a bit on reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s words,
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.”
(Sonnets from the Portuguese)
And I’ve thought long and hard about my future while reading of Robert Frost’s walk in the woods:
”Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both..”
(“The Road Not Taken”).
Unfortunately most poetry seems to go downhill after the few I can really understand. They either transmogrify (a Calvin and Hobbs word) into abstract babbling that only a Martian could understand, or knock you over with heavy-flowered sweetness. (With the exception of one or two Coffee Stains readers who use their poetic talents well for the Lord)
The Best Poet of All
But still, a good poet can move your heart.
And God is a good poet, did you know that? Have you ever read any of his masterworks?
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
The Greek word for “workmanship” in this verse is “poiema.” It’s the base of our word “poem.” It can also mean a work of art, a masterpiece.
If you’ll grant me a bit of poetic license, I can almost imagine the Lord, hunched over a heavenly desk scribbling away, rhyming the story of my life—and yours. At times he stops and leans back, looking absently off into space. “Now what word would best convey that idea?” he mutters absently. “Ah, that’s it!” he exclaims as he bends again to his work.
We’re his masterpiece poem and He wants it just right.
You see He wants the whole world to see the incomparable riches of his grace to us in what Jesus Christ our Lord has done in us and for us (Eph. 2:7). We’re not abstract poems—his grace simply shouts from our life.
He wants the world to benefit from this beautiful love poem He has written with the lines of our life. He even wrote the poem before we existed because He knew we were coming. He planned out all the beautiful ways you were going to love, serve, and show the world His glory through the poetry of your life.
“She threw herself into saving the children in the ghetto.”
“His heart throbbed with the beat of winning the lost.”
“They dreamed a school for those who had none.”
“She loved the old lady who couldn’t get out of her house.”
”He responded to the provocation exactly as Jesus would have.”
God created us to serve Him and serve others by good works. We are not saved by these good works, but we do them because we are saved (Eph. 2:10). That’s our destiny, our reason for being.
Remember you’re not just a wanted or unwanted result of your parent’s passion. God knew about you before you were born. He dreamed the poem of your life. And the Lord writes poetry much better than me. That lends your life an incredible importance. Are you living out the stanzas of your life, the lines you were created to live?