What, you may ask me, do I think is my task?
What is my ballast. For what do I ask?
What is it, I think, that I ought to build?
What is my joy when my heart has been filled?
When my soul is at rest, what then is my peace?
When do I strive, to make other's strife cease?
When my soul mourns, what has been lost?
What is the prize, for which I count the cost?
My story for some, may seem quite a bore.
It matches some others, that have gone long before.
Yet even so, it ought to be heard,
Without it, my burdens seem to many absurd.
Brief were the days, that I walked upon the earth,
The days before I came, to my second birth,
From early on, I've watched God's people,
I've observed women and men, under many a steeple.
Both high and low, is a journey with Him.
I've seen some of both, and I'm sure to again.
And so I present you, with a small simple picture,
For those who will listen, a symbolic fixture.
As I first set out, on the long path to wisdom,
A knowledge of my Father's, vast eternal kingdom,
I came to discover, a wide and deep pit,
a crack in the earth, where the ground, it had split.
I wished to see clearly, just how deep it went,
Yet in spite of this question, the day, it was spent.
And so I went home, and tried to find rest.
I reckoned I'd awake, and return to the quest.
At home I asked family, and friends that I found.
I asked them if any, had seen the cracked ground.
I asked them, each one, if they knew of the pit,
If they had built bridges, or sought to cover it.
Some had in fact seen it, and others had not.
Most words were cold, and fewer were hot.
Few found the news to be, a great tragedy.
Most folks turned away, and said to let it be.
“These things often happen,” many folks said.
You really shouldn't bother. You should go to bed.
I cannot say truly, that I was satisfied.
Yet I did rest, having been at last denied.
When I awoke, on the following day,
The pit entered my mind, without any delay.
So I set out again, on a journey to see,
Just how great and deep, that the chasm could be.
When I arrived at the chasm, there stood a strange man.
His name was John, he gently took my hand.
“Hello,” he said. “I know your mind.”
Yet I had no fear, for his voice was kind.
Yesterday you stumbled upon this ugly sight
You found it as you walked, for you sought out the light.
Indeed the Father's truth is the thing that you seek,
yet you stopped here abruptly and your legs, they grew weak.
“Your words, they are true,” I said in reply.
My eyes, they were wide and my throat had grown dry.
“What is this place?” I said to the man,
“How came this chasm in the midst of the land?”
His face, it turned grave, and he said back to me,
“Thanks be to God, that you now wish to see.
For many have traveled down this long narrow road
Yet here turned back again, both young man and old.”
“Could they not have continued by walking around?”
I asked him while pointing toward the broken ground.
“Yes,” he replied, “and such many choose,
Yet, because of this, so many young followers they lose.”
At this answer he'd given, I asked in return,
“How can this be? Please, help me to learn.”
Gently he took me again by the hand,
“My dear friend, please listen, I'll help you understand.”
After I nodded my head, he began,
“Do you know the gospel upon which you stand?”
“I most assuredly do.” I said in reply.
“For my great many sins, the Son was sent to die.”
He replied with a smile,“This great truth is ours,
His glorious grace could be sung for long hours.
That is the truth that this straight path proclaims,
The truth this evil chasm imprisons with chains.”
“How can this be?” I said with great grief.
“What could swallow up so Holy a belief?”
He said in reply, “My friend, don't be shocked”
Our great Holy Father will never be mocked.
If we simply ignore so awful a pit,
It will lead to a gospel that is simply unfit.
Unfit for those people who are both rich and poor.
Unfit to lead any to that eternal shore.
Some who lead others have walked quickly around,
and allowed their followers to stumble into the ground.”
I replied, “How far is it that such people fell?”
He answered with tears, “straight down into Hell.”
I gasped with sorrow at what he had said.
“This must not go on, so many souls still left dead.
How can this tragedy be dealt with and ended?
Why has this chasm not been fully mended?”
He replied “You have ask me, what so many do,
And hate when I tell them what is in fact true.
Our great God himself has left this pit open.
He has seen fit to let it sit broken.
There are only two paths to the opposite side.
One comes from humility, the other from pride.
One may avoid the pit, and risk falling in,
another climbs down, and comes out changed within.
Some succeed in avoiding what it takes to explore.
They do find salvation but lose many more.
Others go down to see just what destroys,
The glorious gospel, which the devil enjoys.”
I trembled at the sound of the words he proclaimed
But decided I'd listen, to what wisdom he'd gained.
“I will go down” I said with a sigh.
“How do I descend, yet return still alive?”
He replied “here's a ladder, that will begin your descent.
Be warned, once you begin, you cannot repent.”
I paused for a moment, but then grasped the ladder.
I knew turning back would make me mad as a hatter.
I began my descent, the light became dim.
I began to grow nervous, my surroundings were grim
However, before I could see next to nothing,
My feet hit the earth and a candle was burning.
The candle was held by a man in old clothing,
He called himself Martin and his eyes, they were glowing.
It was hard to discern if he was joyful or mad,
Whether he'd shout or reach out and be glad.
“I've fought many battles, with pen and with tongue.”
He said with a grimace, his story'd begun.
“I come from a day when leaders have stolen,
not just gold and jewels, but divine peace they've broken.
For 500 years, I've tried to warn many,
That Christ's perfect gift cannot be sold for a penny.
Not a dime, not a quarter, not a treasure worth billions,
Yet so many trade sainthood to the damnation of millions.
Rather than preaching the gospel of grace,
So many hate mercy, and put pride in its place.
Rather than see their good nature is lost,
They try to restore it and they spit on the cross.
In the name of God's mercy, so many deceive,
They call people righteous, rather than those who receive.
Rather than speak of a gift so complete,
they make people builders who strive and compete.
While they maintain the truth that God is so flawless,
That he demands perfection and returns wrath to the lawless,
They deny that his people can simply believe,
And be counted as righteous in the Christ they receive.”
With tears in my eyes and pain in my heart,
I turned a way from Martin and had to depart.
Before I had walked even a few feet ahead,
I came across yet another who turned to me and said,
“My name is Calvin.” He was bearded and gray.
His eyes held great wisdom, he would indeed have his say.
“I must tell you of God” he said with a grin,
“So many belittle him, and fall into great sin.
Rather than hold to a great God who rules,
They prefer a small puppet, barely worthy of fools.
Rather than love that God holds all of time,
They'd prefer a mute idol, themselves being sublime.
When great terror strikes in the lives of these men,
They see God as helpless, like a dumb mother hen.
Rather than see that God is one who ordains,
They see him as one who in planning abstains.
Because of the whimpering portrait they paint,
They worship an image with whom they relate.
They prefer one more finite than outside of time,
And so reject Christ, who is man and divine.
With this god it is easy, to invite those around,
To embrace a small gospel, where he makes barely a sound.
Rather than seeing our rebirth as God's task,
They love man's sovereign will, and hide it under a mask.
Hearing these words, I moved on from him,
My heart was now heavy, his words being grim.
So deep in my heart, a flame was now burning.
I hated man's hubris, for God's power I was yearning.
At last I came wandering to another old face,
He called himself Edward and his eyes glowed with grace.
“I see that you've listened to those other two men,
I hope I might give you some words yet again.
It is not now my hope, to say anything new.
I wish only to show proof of that which is true.
I want your new passion to never grow dim.
I want it to stay strong through both thick and thin.”
He then began showing great proofs from God's word,
Of the truth of those things I had recently heard.
I knew in my soul that no storm could now break,
The ballast in my soul and that heavenly ache.
A ladder then fell from darkness above
I started the climb to the world that I love.
I left those old men to their guarding God's word,
To the next hungry soul who would let them be heard.
When I reached the surface and set foot on the path,
I saw that a bridge was built on my behalf.
“Thank you dear John,” I said to the man.
He replied, “Now return, and warn all those you can.
They must travel this path, and avoid risking death,
You can now speak the truth without wasting your breath.
Some may still listen, yet others may not.
Yet don't give up speaking what you now have been taught.”
Returning back home, I began to proclaim,
All those things I had heard, that had brought me such pain.
What made the task ever, so hard to begin,
Was that people began to turn away with a grin.
“I've heard of those men that you say are long dead,
They say crazy things that just mess with your head.
It's best not to bother with caverns and pits,
it's best to love Jesus and forget all the grit.
To think they can help us is nothing but pride.
We don't understand them, so why even try?
I said in reply, “why not give them a chance?
You might find them simpler than they seem at first glance.
“Not all are like you,” they said with a smile,
We like our thoughts easy. Stop forcing your style.
I then saw the books that they held near and dear,
How they mocked the great truths I had heard strong and clear.
They praised all the authors and said they were grand,
How they had minds so great which helped men understand.
Yet these authors had cut themselves off at the knees.
They'd forgotten the past, only wrote what they pleased.
I dared not open my mouth a second time.
They'd accuse me of pride if crossed over that line.
They truly believed that such ease was humble.
Any old truth I presented made them grumble.
This is the world into which I have stumbled,
Where submission is pride and ignorance is humble.
No one dares hear the voice of those long dead,
Lest they grow offended and go losing their head.
Yet they claim to submit to those even older,
To those who wrote scripture, they stand on their shoulders?
They scoff at those men, whose knowledge was strong,
Who knew scripture like we know the simplest song.
I claim no great talent or knowledge none fathom,
But only that I have gone down in a chasm.
I have heard a few voices whose words now remain,
I will not forget them, for their meaning is plain.
I pray that my thoughts will not cause more to stumble,
but make me and others to be far more humble.
I pray that our God in his glory would reign,
To the only wise God who brings joy out of pain.