I don’t usually post my poetry on here as part of my blog, mostly because I don’t feel that it accurately communicates what I mean all the time. Poetry is more subjective. Poetry engages your heart, grips it, and refuses to let go until your head finally gives in. I do love poetry, though. I find myself writing it most often in my times of struggle between what I know to be true about God and how I feel about myself.
This week at church the message was about rivers of living water. Such a beautiful truth, these rivers of life. They flow from a limitless source of completion and make beautiful whatever they touch. God, complete and full, incessantly pours upon us His rivers of grace, forgiveness, love, satisfaction, glory, and righteousness. He has no need for us to give Him anything back, to bring our buckets of runoff to Him and say proudly, “Look what I did!” As if one raindrop could fill an ocean. Still, we bring our buckets, our pathetic, stagnate buckets and think ourselves great.
God says, “No, child, I need nothing from you.”
His desire is not for us to serve Him, but for us to be served by Him. He not only drowns us in His rivers but makes rivers come up out of us! See, we think that serving others is another way to please Him, to gain His favor, because that’s what we are “called” to. We forget that we are vessels. Broken vessels. We forget that we can give nothing to others without having received it from Him first. We forget that they are HIS rivers IN us.
How human of us.
We see greatness come from something we touched and think, “I did that!”
How quickly we forget the desert that preceded His rivers.
Without Him we are nothing and because of Him we have everything. We were hopelessly overwhelmed by a life of expectation and He made us enough. We were failures and He made us perfect. Everything that we could never achieve He has called us to and made us adequate, no, more than that, over qualified for. Such a divine paradox He has made us, that we are both less than we think ourselves to be and greater than we can imagine.
He’s kind of fantastic that way.
So, here is my poem, inspired by this weekend’s message. I hope it caresses your heart and stimulates your mind; and I hope it inspires you to forsake your bucket for the experience of the river.
By Jess Hays
Like worn ships tossed by the sea
Tattered sails torn apart in the breeze
We use our ability to try and gain glory
Attempt to avoid capsizing under the weight of unworthy
We preach holiness and leave out his favor
Want righteousness but see no need for a Savior
We talk a lot but don't say much of anything
Forsake love to focus on people sinning
He offers us rivers and we bring him buckets
Futilely hoping what we give is enough
He offers us life and we trade it for religion
We want to live by His rules so we ignore His forgiveness
His radical grace made an outlaw of me
And gave me a new mission to set others free
Now His full blessing He's given to me
So this broken vessel is no longer afraid of the sea