Words that worked

batter my heartI was an English Major in college.

Long before I loved Jesus, I loved words.  I used to pour over poetry and prose, dissecting every word choice, desperate to discover the heart of the author hidden beneath the marks on the page.

One of my favorite poets was a guy named John Donne.  I re-read one of my favorite poems this morning and I had two thoughts. (1) How could I have read this poem, and loved it and claimed to understand its heart before I knew Jesus?  (2) What if all those hours I spent huddled over a desk, tearing this poem apart, were hours spent in prayer before I even knew what prayer was?

What if I loved this poem so much because His Spirit was teaching my inner man the desperation of these words?

What if my study of this poem was knit into my life by a sovereign chain of events that lead to my salvation?

Either way – I read it now and I see all the ways He has answered this prayer.  And I see all the ways I still cry out in desperation for Him to answer it.

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

I pray today that it would be more than weird words today.

I pray that you would stop and read them again.  Read them slowly.   Wherever you are with God,  however deeply you believe or how darkly you doubt, ask Him to batter your heart today.

2 thoughts on “Words that worked

  1. Fabs,

    I studied English, too, and this poem has long been a favorite of mine! I remember a professor introducing it in an “Intro to the Major” class; I was captivated by Donne’s intimacy with Christ. Such good reminders all over this poem. Thanks for bringing it to mind again!

  2. John Donne is one of my favorite poets! Love this one. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Our hearts indeed need to be ‘battered’ more often. I daily pray for mine to be broken for the world around me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *