Sunday, October 24, 2010

In this poem a view of opportunity is presented. The recreant or the dreamer complains that he has no real chance. He would succeed, he says, if he had but the implements of success: money, influence, social prestige, and the like. But success lies far less in implements than in the use we make of them.

What one man throws away as useless, another man seizes as the best means of victory at hand. For every one of us the materials for achievement are sufficient. The spirit that prompts us is what ultimately counts.

This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:--

There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;

And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged

A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords

Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince’s


Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by


A craven hung along the battle’s edge,

And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steel –

That blue blade that the king’s son bears, ---but


Blunt thing --------!” he snapt and flung it from his


and lowering crept away and left the field.

Then came the king’s son, wounded, sore bested,

And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,

Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,

And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout

Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,

And saved a great cause that heroic day.

Edward Rowland Sill

Psalm 142

Give heed to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are too strong for me.
Bring my soul out of prison........

When I read this scripture I knew it was to be shared at the Teen Challenge center.
This is the cry from the battle, the persecution of addiction, too strong to be overcome;
souls imprisoned, longing for a rescuer, whose name and life we offer as the only lasting hope.
May God be praised forever!

Psalm 142: 5-7, photo by Manuel Libres Librodo Jr.

When I think I have heard the worst story of victimization a student at the center can tell, sadly, it is followed by another, reaching new heights of evil. Such is the story of one of the guys at center now; I’ll call him Bill, who was prey to an adult pedophile neighbor whose lust for evil knows no bounds. He drew in Bill with the intent of filming him and the only female victim available was Bill’s younger sister who he was forced to have sex with while being filmed. It didn’t end there; he was also forced to have sex with animals while being filmed. I’ll end the details there, which should suffice to paint the picture of his case of horrid child abuse; I wish it ended there but no normal mind can imagine the extent of the abuse.

Enduring these abuses caused Bill to act out which caused his father, not to inquire about the changes but rather to react to them and draw away from Bill and ultimately to punish, verbally abuse and lastly, physically abuse him.

Living in this world of madness where the vileness of the acts penetrated to the very marrow of his young bones, as soon as he was introduced to the numbing and mood elevating effects of intoxicants, he was soon addicted.

But the story does not end there because when Bill heard the story of Christ’s power to cleanse the darkest soul and forgive the vilest sins: Bill clutched the hem of Christ’s garment with such fervor that, be it dragged to heaven or carried, he would not let go. Of course Jesus lifted him up and lavished His emergency grace over Bill and washed him white as snow. I can’t remember a more devoted student, who longs to serve and please God with such a single mind that my faith blushes in comparison.

May I never resist the promptings of the Spirit of Christ when he bids me speak.

Painting by Simon Dewey