Years ago, I was reading The Lady’s Confession by George MacDonald, and was thrilled to come across this poem. It felt like a bonus, to find this treasure in the middle of a story.
Now, every year, in Advent and the extended celebrations leading up to Christmas, I revisit the poem often.
They all were looking for a king
To slay their foes and lift them high;
Thou cam’st a little Baby thing
That made a woman cry.
O Son of Man, to right my lot
Naught but Thy presence can avail;
Yet on the road Thy wheels are not,
Nor on the sea Thy sail.
My how and when Thou wilt not heed,
But come down Thine own secret stair;
That Thou may’est answer all my need,
Yea–every bygone prayer.
I reflect on God’s ways, and witness His comings and goings that are completely unpredictable. In my beautiful, broken world, He keeps showing up. He changes things and heals hearts and bodies. He does it in endlessly creative ways without fanfare or announcement, and never in the way that I was expecting.
This is a season that always invites me to nostalgia and reminiscing. I mark time and progress in myself by what other Christmases were like. Four years ago, two weeks after major surgery, I flew home, using the airport’s handicap services. Three years ago, I ran and up down four flights of steps to host a ladies’ evening at a friend’s apartment. Two years ago, I was newly in the US, and with my sister and her little family. One year ago, I was in Greece with another sister who supports those caring for refugees.
Greece broke something in me that is still not cured or answered or solved. I cannot reconcile my comfort and ease of living while thousands of beautiful women, children, and men barely survive in super-crowded, cold refugee camps.
There are lots of overwhelming, devastating things going on across the globe that tempt me to despair. I want answers, solutions, a king to sweep in and slay the foes.
I would most certainly despair if I weren’t so sure that He has His ways, His own secret stairs, and somehow, in a most mysterious exchange, my by-gone prayers make a difference.
On this surety, I can sleep well and delight in beauty and rejoice in miracles and not stay crumpled in a heap about the injustices in my world.
Who can know how He’ll show up today?