Submission to God – I am Willing Poem

I recently updated an ancient poem about submission to God and I share it here to prompt you on the topics of making Jesus Lord, yielding your life to God, dying to self, humility and submission.

I am Willing….

I am Willing…
To receive what You give me,
To lack what You keep from me,
To relinquish what You take from me,
To surrender what You claim from me,
To suffer what You ordain for me,
To do what You command of me,
To wait until You say to me, ‘Go’.
Original Version by an Unknown Author, reworked by Chris Field, October 2008.

Poetry or Reality

The problem with sweetly stated poetic ideas is we can enjoy them as poetry and fail to make them reality. While I love the sentiment of the verse I have just shown you, we must all go further than reading the words. Our journey is to make the words real in our personal life experience.

Sadly, many Bible truths have been reduced in the minds of church-goers to the status of children’s stories, inspiring thoughts, poetic sentiment and so on. Christianity is a very gritty reality.

Consider the martyrs of church history. There faith was not a more poetic sentiment, but a complete commitment. What about those who suffer persecution on a daily basis? And consider those who die to selfish ambition, turning down golden opportunities on account of conscience and their commitment to Christ. Christianity is no mere poetic nicety. It is a tough and sacrificial, life-changing, all encompassing lifestyle.

God Wants All of You

Such is the demand of our faith that it invades and messes with every aspect of our lives. God wants to be Lord of every aspect of our existence, including the personal, family, career, mental, emotional, business and social realms.

The claims of Christ on our lives is summed up well in a 1967 song by gospel artist, Audrey Meier, “All He Wants is You”.

“All He wants is you. No one else will do.
Not just a part, He wants all of your heart.
All He wants is all of you. All He wants is you

All He wants is me, Unreservedly.
Not just a part, He wants all of my heart.
All He wants is all of me. All He wants is me.” (Audrey Meier).

Have Thine Own Way Lord

Please excuse my ongoing reference to poetic verse on this topic, but it is one that has been well celebrated by hymn writers and poets through the centuries. The yieldedness which I outlined in “I am Willing” at the start of this article, has been beautifully articulated in the lovely and popular hymn, “Have Thine Own Way Lord”.

Over 100 years ago (1907) Adelaide Pollard penned the verses to this lovely hymn. In successive verses she: acknowledges God as the Potter with power over the clay; recognises God’s ability to see what is inside us; confesses our weakness in need of God’s power; and celebrates the ultimate achievement of a life reflecting Christ.

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Search me and try me, Savior today!
Wash me just now, Lord, wash me just now,
as in thy presence humbly I bow.

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

How Willing Are You?

To receive what God gives you: Or do you demand what you want, maybe loving this present world more than fellowship with your Heavenly Father. Remember that Demas “loved this present world” and abandoned the faith.
To lack what God keeps from you: Or do you go after the things you want, demanding that you be gratified, despite what God requires of you or has for you.
To relinquish what God takes from you: Or do you become resentful of God and jealous of others when you lose things or have to yield things to God.
To surrender what God claims from you: Or do hold tightly to those things that you fear God may want you to give up, maybe in lifestyle, possessions or relationships, including those ambitions which have driven you all your life.
To suffer what God ordains for you: Or do you flee from persecution and opposition, using that as justification for not going ahead with God’s purposes in your life.
To do what God commands of you: Or do you resist, substituting something else in place of what God really wants from you, justifying your independence and rebellion by pointing out all the others who seem to get away with what you are doing.
To wait until God says to you, Go: Or do you just rush off when you have the impulse, fearful of missing out if you wait for God’s timing.

The Original Version of I am Willing

“I am Willing ….
To receive what Thou givest,
To lack what Thou withholdest,
To relinquish what Thou takest,
To surrender what Thou claimest,
To suffer what Thou ordainest,
To do what Thou commandest,
To wait until Thou sayest ‘Go.”‘
Author Unknown

I Was There – A Poem

My children found a poem I had started five years ago. They were keen for me to tidy it up, so it was complete. So I’ve done that, and here it is….

I Was There. A Poem by Chris Field

It seems I was there, so the pictures declare.
Aloof among the smiles, companion through the miles.
Yet I don’t recall, being there at all.

Strange I must admit, I don’t recall a bit.
Person, place or scene, where surely I have been.
It seems that I was there, so the pictures do declare.

Unseen among the crowd, unheard by voices loud,
Standing to one side, I didn’t need to hide,
My blank, unseeing stare says I really wasn’t there.

I wonder how it went, that years of life were spent
With people all around and yet no memory found.
For truly I was there, the pictures do declare.

Unwanted and unknown, untouched by moments flown
I passed away those years, dead to hopes and fears;
Filling time and space, but never in the race.

Now what did others see when ever they saw me?
Were their eyes so blind that I never crossed their mind?
Someone should have known what the pictures now have shown.

I was there as one asleep in thoughts too dark and deep
For ever me to know how passed those years so slow.
And so I don’t recall being there at all.

Reflections…

Have you ever been in a daze, distracted by things that keep you from the present? Have you ever seen a photograph and not remembered the place or occasion? While that may happen to us all on rare occasions, there are some who go through all of life in such a mode. I have met folk like that, whose lives pass away with barely any consciousness on their part. “I Was There” focuses such an experience.

I have often wondered where ideas like this come from when I’m waxing poetic. I have come up with some fairly strange themes at times. I put it down to my fascination for the inner workings of the mind and heart, drawing me to reflections which may rarely be expressed. I find it fun to put into words some strange experience, imagining what it would be like to be in such a place or struggling with such thoughts.

When I first read this poem to my wife she asked me what period of my life I was talking about. I reminded her that I often write about things that are not my personal experience. So let me assure you too, that I am functioning as a poet, not as a patient on the therapist’s couch.

I trust you enjoy the evocative exploration of thought and feeling which this and other of my works venture into.

How Do You Feel?

How did you feel, Grandpa Noah
Building your boat out of wood,
While the world mocked you through those centuries,
For things not yet understood?
How did you feel?

Well, you built it in faith and obedience
Doing as God told you to.
So I guess you must have felt pretty good,
Even though only God trusted you.

How did you feel, Mr Abram,
Leaving your homeland behind,
To journey on to a new land,
That you were yet to find?
How did you feel?

Well, you stepped out in faith in the Living God,
And journeyed at His command.
So I guess you must have felt pretty good,
As you looked for the Promised Land.

How did you feel, Mr Moses,
When you got to the deep Red Sea,
The Egyptians were hot in pursuit
And there was just no-where to flee?
How did you feel?

Well, you got there by faith in Jehovah,
And you let him lead you all there,
So you looked for a miracle right on the spot.
Your heart no-one could scare.

Then, how did you feel, Mr Moses,
When the people demanded bread
And the wilderness left them all hungry
And your followers wanted you dead?
How did you feel?

Well, you knew the God of Salvation,
Who had called you to His side.
So you spoke words of faith and deliverance
And God wonderfully supplied.

How did you feel, Mr Joshua,
As you walked around that wall,
Keeping silent, grim procession,
Waiting for it to fall?
How did you feel?

Well, you did it in faith in Jehovah,
Just the way He told you to,
So you must have expected the walls to fall
And your army to run straight through.

How did you feel, Elijah,
As before the King you stood
And said the rain would stay in the sky
As long as you said it should?
How did you feel?

Well, you said it in faith in the Lord God
And you spoke it as His word
So I guess you must have felt pretty good
Obeying what you had heard.

Then, How did you feel, Elijah,
Telling that widow to cook
When she just had enough for one last meal
Which you went ahead and took?
How did you feel?

You did it in faith in Jehovah,
And you knew that He led you there,
And you knew this challenge would come to good
And bring to her God’s care.

How did you feel, Lord Jesus,
As you thought of Your final breath
On the cross where You’d die as You hung in the sky
And lose Yourself to death.
How did you feel?

Well, we know that it must have been agony
And we know of Your desperate plea,
But we also know of Your final resolve
To trust God for victory.

How do I feel at this moment,
When problems loom in my face
And the situation seems quite grim
Since I’m doomed to lose this race?
How do I feel?

I choose to trust in the Living God
And believe Him to win for me
So I stir up my faith and I choose to press on
Knowing God will set me free!

I declare that I am a victor
Even though I’m under the gun
And I sing songs of praise as my voice I raise
For Jesus has already won!

Today is my day of deliverance
Tomorrow will dawn anew,
For God’s on my side and His blessings abide
And He will bring me through.

I’m encouraged by Noah and Abram,
And Moses and David and all,
Who faced off with death, and used their last breath
To cry out the victory call.

The Lord is my hope and my stay
Even without hopeful sign
For He is the God of all miracles
And all of those can be mine.

I find in each challenging hour
When hope just has lost all chance
That God comes through beyond all my dreams
And causes my feet to dance.

So I praise You my God and my Saviour
For deliverance from this hour
And for proof that there is a Living God
Of miracle-working power.

I praise You for grace for one such as me
Who doesn’t deserve Your love
And who does not deserve to have things work out
Yet You grace me from above.

Comments

I wrote this poem in June 2006 when I was confronted with an unexpected and challenging financial problem. At first I was winded by the situation and so I looked to the Lord and pressed in to find a platform for my faith to stand on, from God’s Word.

One of my biggest challenges was initially my own “feelings”. I had to harness my emotions and press through the various reactions they wanted to give in to. So that’s why this poem addresses the question, “How did you feel?”

This poem is very personal, in that it springs from my own desperation and personal struggle. I share it with you to encourage you to press through in faith.

“What happened in your case?” You ask. Well, I did not have a sudden deliverance, although I certainly prayed for one. I had to change my plans, tighten my belt, adjust my lifestyle and hold on to the Lord. The season of challenge stretched on beyond what I thought I could ever endure, and here I am having survived it all. Praise God for His keeping power.

The Apostle Paul said, I know how to abound and how to be abased. I have come now to a deeper appreciation of the limitations which abasement brings. But I have also had my attention redirected to the issues of God’s Kingdom, rather than my own material and economic plans. Susan and I feel much freer from material things than we have before.

I pray that the Lord pick you up and carry you through your seasons of challenge as He did with us. But I also pray that you harness your emotions and get on with “Business as Usual”, which is what God asked us to do. My ministry has grown and people have been blessed, because we looked past our own situation and got on with God’s business. May you also do the same!

John Milton Applies His Talents to His Faith

John Milton died on November 8, 1674. He is described as “the greatest poet of Christian themes England has produced”.

Born to a family of means in London on 9 December, 1608, his Christian convictions were most probably invoked through his mother, Sarah, who is described as a very religious person. His genius for poetry revealed itself at an early age. His paraphrase of Psalm 136 was written when he was 15 years of age …
Let us with a gladsome mind
praise the Lord for He is kind …

Originally it had 24 stanzas.

Milton considered himself destined for ministry, and was first taught languages by his father, then was schooled at St Paul’s School and Christ’s College Cambridge. After a year at Cambridge he was suspended for a fist fight with his tutor. Milton held his beliefs firmly. He was not particularly liked by the other students. At Cambridge he composed “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity” on Christmas Day 1629.

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After graduation he spent time at home, engaged in literature, and then went to the Continent where he met many notables, including Galileo (then under house arrest by the church), the Pope’s nephew Cardinal Barberini and Calvinist theologian Giovanni Diodati.

Milton returned to London and was then caught up in the English Civil War. He became secretary to Oliver Cromwell writing political treatises to counter critical works originating on the Continent. He also wrote several prose works from a Puritan perspective including pamphlets against the episcopy.

At the age of 44 he became totally blind – but continued to write political treatises.

Then – in later life – he turned back to poetry.

His epic work, Paradise Lost, in which he “sought to justify the ways of God to man” was published in ten volumes in 1667. The copyright was sold for 5 pounds Sterling at a time when Milton’s finances had taken a turn for the worse.

Milton’s blindness made huge demands on his creativity. He would compose verses at night and commit them to memory, then dictate them to his daughters or other assistants in the morning.

Many of Milton’s religious views were at variance to Puritan theology, including his disbelief in the divine birth.

His domestic life was sad. His first wife, 17 year old Mary Powell, who married him when he was twice her age, left him after “a few weeks” then returned two years later (1645) and bore him three daughters.

After her death he re-married (1656), but his second wife died two years later.

At the age of 58 he married again to a much younger woman, despite the opposition of his daughters, and this third wife seemed to bring him peace in his last eight years.

His last manuscript, A Treatise of Christian Doctrine, in Latin, was not found until about 150 years after his death. It reveals Arian views – and a willingness to tolerate polygamy … (Chambers Biographical Dictionary).

Paradise Lost is controversial in its Christian message, subtly presenting Satan as the real hero of the poem. Romantic poet William Blake stated that Milton is “a true Poet, and of the Devil’s party without knowing it.”

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This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History, which I previously considered to be a little stuffy and of little practical value. I find in the process of updating Don’s Christian Diary that I am being constantly refreshed, illuminated or challenged by the lives of those who have gone before.

Today

Having recently written about ‘Yesterday’ my thoughts jogged along to ‘Today’ and I thought I would try to wax poetic about this thing we call today. I don’t think I’m going to win an award for what is contained here, but I’m sharing it as a way of recording my jottings.

I woke and it was today. Wow! How fast it came.
Only yesterday this day was far away.
And I don’t think I’m ready yet for today.
Could I have a few more days to prepare?
I think I was distracted and didn’t realise how time was passing.

Can we just put it off one more day?
Oh.
So, it’s today.
And I’m ill prepared.
Hmmm.

Well I guess I can have a shot at it, but it won’t be very good.
I should have prepared.
I was going to study and do some reading.
And I thought I’d understand more by now.
But I guess that’s not how it works.

Just give me a minute to see if I can find something to help.
Where are those notes I scribbled long ago?
I can’t find them.
And I don’t remember what they said.
Are you sure we can’t do this tomorrow instead?

Cruel is the fate that catches us off-guard.
Unrelenting time has made this moment hard.
How dare it treat me so?
It seemed to go so slow.
But now I’m caught in moments locked and barred.

Today is oh so cruel to catch me unprepared.
It makes me feel the fool and not a little scared.
It leaves me out of step
With hardly time to prep.
It shows me up as one who hasn’t cared.

Others I can see have met this day full force.
Just how can it be that they have kept that course?
How did they do so well?
I wish that I could tell.
For as for me I’m like a limping horse.

While others dash ahead and run about quite free
My feet are made of lead and stumble under me.
Today has bogged me down
And made me look the clown
While others as I’ve said, get the jump on me.

Tomorrow’s on its way and so I make my choice
To pick a course and stay on track with mind and voice.
So when tomorrow comes
I’ll beat the welcome drums
And have it on a tray as I rejoice.