BLOG––Encouraged by Faith

"Thou art indeed just, Lord"

Posted by April Bumgardner on

 

 

Lately, I have been busy, but feel I am accomplishing little. It is the sort of busyness our Western culture strangely seems to value. I could enumerate several tasks I have completed throughout the day, yet the weightier ones, the ones which possess the most significance seem to remain neglected, undone. I have a list of deadlines looming, but even more, our family seems unsettled and my own soul is not fully at peace. I am experiencing the disappointment of constant striving but without focus or satisfaction.

 

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) experienced this, as well. The English poet was increasingly frustrated with his lack of productivity. The depth in his poetry seemed to elude him and though he wrote and wrote, the results disappointed him. He struggled with discouragement, even depression, most of his adult life.

 

Like the psalmist David, Hopkins begins his poem “Thou Art Indeed Just, Lord” with a lament and complaint.

 

Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must

Disappointment all I endeavour end?

  

This is a cry of theodicy, a questioning of God’s goodness and care in a difficult world that seems far from ideal. He then ends it with a plea for help and a praise-filled recognition of the Lord as the true source of refreshment.

Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend

With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.

Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must

Disappointment all I endeavour end?

 

Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,

How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost

Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust

Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,

Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes

Now, leaved how thick! laced they are again

With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes

Them; birds build – but not I build; no, but strain,

Time’s eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.

Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.

 

It is somewhat comparable to David’s content in Psalm 13 where the psalmist also confronts his creator on his fairness and justice.

 

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me

forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul

and have sorrow in my heart all the day? …

 

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God…

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;

my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt

bountifully with me.

 

Psalm 13, A Psalm of David 


For weeks I have felt weighted down by my ineptitude as a mom, teacher, peacemaker and spirit-filled being. Even if I grow heavy with the feeling of unfruitfulness, I can count on his grace and his refreshing rain like the psalmists rely on, to supply “my roots rain,” for “he has dealt bountifully with me.”

 

Comments

to leave comment

 

© 2019 North Central Church of Christ   |   9015 Westfield Blvd. Indianapolis, IN 46240