XXXVIII. I thank You, Lord, that in this desert dry

A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy spirit. Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51 (50): 12-14

I thank You, Lord, that in this desert dry

My faith has blossomed, for to You I cling.

You’ve rid my life of much that would me pry

From Your sweet care and from the life You bring.

The field that is my soul receives sweet rains,

Although my life seems arid, strewn with dust.

You’ve shattered my illusions, and my chains.

You’re teaching me to live in humble trust.

I grumble, yet real fruit appears from grace;

I see this time is not without great growth.

To You I march, though stranded in this place,

With weariness profound and grand awe both.

From nothing You create, and landscape bare

You use to form hearts pure and children fair.

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XXXVII. From Your uncompromising love received

“The LORD, your God, has blessed you in all your undertakings; he has been concerned about your journey through this vast desert. It is now forty years that he has been with you, and you have never been in want.” -Deuteronomy 2:7

From Your uncompromising love received—

A gracious gift from Your most gentle Hand—

This desert where such hope I have conceived

Is nonetheless a torment to withstand.

My head admits You had a purpose kind

To bring me here, my thorny heart to prune.

Your faithfulness I toil to bring to mind;

I trust that You will lead me out—pray, soon!

My heart can focus only on the pain

And yearns some blessèd Promised Land to spy.

When deadened it not lie, much like to slain,

In sorrow it does wallow and give sigh.

Though thanks I cannot feel, my thanks resound

For driving me onto this desert ground.

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XXXVI. I yearn to know my Author’s master plan

Wait for the LORD, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the LORD! –Psalm 27:14

I yearn to know my Author’s master plan,

My life’s design, my purpose in this world;

To see what lies beyond this desert’s span,

This seeming wasteland in whose midst I’m hurled.

“How long, O Lord?” my heart sends forth its cry.

‘Tis owed no answer, thus it none receives.

I trust He’s not ignored my constant sigh,

Not He who unto death my slav’ry grieves.

What need or right have I to know His course?

For me it is to follow; Freedom leads.

Of strength and hope I lack, He is the source.

He’s Life itself, and on that Life, I feed.

Could such Love ever harm me? Guide me wrong?

Be meek now. Let thanks ever be your song.

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XXXV. O sacred silence, help me hear Him speak!

Then the LORD said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD – but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake – but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire – but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. -1 Kings 19:11-13

O sacred silence, help me hear Him speak!

Remind me that life’s more than work and haste.

Say once more He’ll sustain me when I’m weak:

That, even flawed, I cannot e’er be waste.

His patience help me learn, and wisdom teach,

That I might know my value in His eyes.

In worldly terms, success I’ve yet to reach;

Help me to seek a grander, lasting prize.

I’m frightened by how quickly I forget,

The ease with which this world tempts and distracts.

So often things not sinful, I regret,

And heed not how within my soul He acts.

Yet He is working, claiming more of me

Each desert day I humbly bend the knee.

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XXXIV. I do think all who know of Him, He calls

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself? -Luke 9:23-25

I do think all who know of Him, He calls;

With love He beckons, offers them a cross,

And notes, “Between us you have built great walls.

To tear them down would cause you no great loss.

Help me destroy them, and, dear child, don’t fear,

Though there will be some noise, and much that’s new.

With or without me, suff’ring must draw near.

I’ll give it purpose. I have suffered too.

For life can spring from pain, and joy from death.

You’ve heard this: may I show you that’s it’s real?

Sin can be healed, My joy lived with each breath.

I’m Mercy; theories of me cannot heal.”

How many in this world of noise so dense

Don’t listen and maintain that tragic fence?

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XXXIII. To know Him and know of Him: great divide

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to (the) poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. -Mt 19:21-22

To know Him and know of Him: great divide.

What chasm there, bridged only by sheer grace!

A distance yawning, infinitely wide:

How hard He toils, our poor souls to embrace!

All pow’r is His, but human hearts His aim,

And love cannot be forced. It must be won.

No two has He e’er wooed in manner same;

Creative and persistent is God’s Son!

He battles hard to gain a passing glance,

Then conquers apathy. Our fears fight next.

We’re slow to follow as He leads the dance,

And wander off, frustrated and perplexed.

Some note His conquests few, to flippant nods.

I marvel He’s won any, if not God.

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XXXII. I yearn to know my Author’s master plan

Then the LORD addressed Job out of the storm and said: Who is this that obscures divine plans with words of ignorance? Gird up your loins now, like a man; I will question you, and you tell me the answers! Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its size; do you know? Who stretched out the measuring line for it? Into what were its pedestals sunk, and who laid the cornerstone, while the morning stars sang in chorus and all the sons of God shouted for joy? And who shut within doors the sea, when it burst forth from the womb; when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling bands? When I set limits for it and fastened the bar of its door, and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled! Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning and shown the dawn its place orf taking hold of the ends of the earth, till the wicked are shaken from its surface? -Job 38:1-13

I yearn to know my Author’s master plan,

My life’s design, my purpose in this world;

To see what lies beyond this desert’s span,

The seeming wasteland in whose midst I’m hurled.

“How long, O Lord?” my heart sends forth its cry.

‘Tis owed no answer, thus it none receives.

I trust He’s not ignored my constant sigh,

Not He who unto death my slav’ry grieves.

What need or right have I to know His course?

For me it is to follow; Freedom leads.

Of strength and hope I lack, He is the source.

He’s Life itself, and on that Life, I feed.

Could such Love ever harm me? Guide me wrong?

Be meek now. Let thanks ever be your song.

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