I am somewhat reluctant to post the following poem; It is an old poem and many have read it before, at least in part. I believe it contains a lot of truth, and I think anyone that has experienced thirty or forty years of life can attest to the truths. But I also believe His yoke is easy and His burden is light. So finding the balance between, what seem to be, contradicting truths made me think for a while.
I’ll summarize it by saying that the poem spans years, and when you lay out all the Lord brings us to in one poem, it seems overwhelming. And it would be, if we had to deal with it all at one time; but we don’t.
He meets out test and challenge as we can handle it and as we need it, always to the end of being more Christ like.
Much of the difficulty we face is our own stubbornness, and our unwillingness to submit to God’s ways. But I think there is another piece and that is the tenderizing of our hearts. Without experiencing losses in our life we seem to lack an important sensitivity to the needs of others. The following crudely illustrates the point--
“It would seem that, as some flowers need to be crushed before they will give forth all their perfumes, and as the goldfinch is said to sing the most sweetly
when a hot needle is thrust into its eye, so pain and anguish are the conditions of some men’s success, without which it is impossible to evoke the most brilliant displays of their genius.
It was a shrewd remark, therefore, which a great musician once made concerning a promising but passionless cantatrice: “She sings well, but she lacks something, and in that something, everything. If I were single, I would court her; I would marry her; I would maltreat her; I would break her heart; and in six months she would be the greatest singer in Europe.”
I don’t like the concept but there is no denying in my own life, the difficulties and losses have created an attractive scar.
The poem is long, but so is the process.
When Nature Wants a Man
When Nature wants to drill a man
And thrill a man,
When Nature wants to mould a man
To play the noblest part;
When she yearns with all her heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall praise –
Watch her method, watch her ways!
How she ruthlessly perfects
Whom she royally elects;
How she hammers him and hurts him
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which only Nature
While his tortured heart is crying and he lifts
Beseeching hands! –
How she bends, but never breaks,
When his good she undertakes…..
How she uses who she chooses
And with every purpose fuses him,
By every art induces him
To try his splendor out –
Nature knows what she’s about.
When Nature wants to take a man
And shake a man
And wake a man;
When Nature wants to make a man
To do the Futures will;
When she tries with all her skill
And she yearns with all her soul
To create him large and whole….
With what cunning she prepares him!
How she goads and never spares him,
How she whets him and she frets him
And in poverty begets him….
How she often disappoints
Whom she sacredly anoints.
With what wisdom she will hide him,
Never minding what betide him,
Though his genius sob with slighting and his
Pride may not forget!
Bids him struggle harder yet.
Makes him lonely
So that only
God’s high messages shall reach him
So that she may surely teach him
What the Hierarchy planned.
Though he may not understand
Gives him passions to command –
How remorselessly she spurs him,
With terrific ardor stirs him
When she poignantly prefers him!
When Nature wants to name a man
And fame a man
And tame a man;
When Nature wants to shame a man
To do his heavenly best…
When she tries the highest test
That her reckoning may bring –
When she wants a god or king! --
How she reigns him and restrains him
So his body scarce contains him
While she fires him
And inspires him!
Keeps him yearning, ever burning for a
Tantalizing goal ---
Lures and lacerates his soul
Sets a challenge for his spirit,
Draws it higher when he’s near it –
Makes a jungle, that he clear it;
Makes a desert, that he fear it
And subdue it if he can –
So doth Nature make a man,
Then, to test his spirit’s wrath
Hurls a mountain in his path –
Puts a bitter choice before him
And relentless stands o’er him.
“Climb, or perish!” so she says…..
watch her purpose, watch her ways!
Nature’s plan is wondrous kind
Could we understand her mind…
Fools are they who call her blind.
When his feet are torn and bleeding
Yet his spirit mounts unheeding,
All his higher powers speeding
Blazing newer paths and fine;
When the force that is divine
Leaps to challenge every failure and his ardor
Still is sweet
And love and hope are burning in the presence
Of defeat ……
Lo, the crisis! Lo, the shout
That must call the leader out.
When the people need salvation
Doth he come to lead the nation ….
Then doth Nature show her plan
When the world has found ---- a man!