Oh how I wish I was a poet! I love narrative and prose, but rarely is there another mode of communication that can impart such deeply profound truths in so little words while simultaneously whisking your soul away on a turbulent emotive journey than a good poem. Currently, I’m preparing to resume my reflections on Stephen J. Nichols’ book on Jonathan Edwards’ take on the sojourner/pilgrim wordview, Heaven On Earth, which I began last fall, and in the upcoming chapter, Nichols submitted an exerpt from a poem that absolutely grabbed my interest and would not let go. So I searched the internet for an online copy of it so that I could read it in its entirety. I was just talking to Kim last night about the sweet providence of God in the smallest of things and how it never ceases to amaze me at how intricately God is at work in our lives. Finding this poem is just another case where his divine hand is at work in every aspect, big and small, of creation.
As of right now, I am completely worn out and burnt out. This semester has been by far the most grueling experience of my academic career. I have never been so busy in my entire life. I feel like I am wasting time just by taking time to eat. And, for those of you who really know me, you are fully aware that this type of lifestyle is not congruent with my personality in the least bit, nor my philosophy of life. So, I really resonated with Bradstreet’s poem and also look forward to the time when weariness and stress are no longer facets of living, where true peace, rest, and joy will be found in God’s eternal kingdom, reigning forever with our Bridegroom, the Lamb who was slain so that the perishable will be raised imperishable and what is sown in weakness will be raised in power (1 Cor 15:42-43).
“As Weary Pilgrim, Now At Rest”As weary pilgrim, now at rest, Hugs with delight his silent nest His wasted limbes, now lye full soft That myrie steps, have troden oft Blesses himself, to think upon his dangers past, and travalies done The burning sun no more shall heat Nor stormy raines, on him shall beat. The bryars and thornes no more shall scratch nor hungry wolves at him shall catch He erring pathes no more shall tread nor wild fruits eate, in stead of bread, for waters cold he doth not long for thirst no more shall parch his tongue No rugged stones his feet shall gaule nor stumps nor rocks cause him to fall All cares and feares, he bids farewell and meanes in safety now to dwell. A pilgrim I, on earth, perplext with sins with cares and sorrows vext By age and paines brought to decay and my clay house mouldring away Oh how I long to be at rest and soare on high among the blest. This body shall in silence sleep Mine eyes no more shall ever weep No fainting fits shall me assaile nor grinding paines my body fraile With cares and fears ne’r cumbred be Nor losses know, nor sorrowes see What tho my flesh shall there consume it is the bed Christ did perfume And when a few yeares shall be gone this mortall shall be cloth’d upon A corrupt carcasse downe it lyes a glorious body it shall rise In weakness and dishonour sowne in power ’tis rais’d by Christ alone Then soule and body shall unite and of their maker have the sight Such lasting eyes shall there behold as eare ne’r heard nor tongue e’er told Lord make me ready for that day then come deare bridegroom come away.