Thread: To fill your heart with wonder
04-01-2005, 02:43 AM #1
To fill your heart with wonder
Good essay reguarding Francis Thompson.
The older you get, the more it takes to fill your heart with wonder, and only God is big enough to do that. This was poet Francis Thompson’s crowning discovery. Thompson once lived on the streets, slaking his opium addiction in London’s Charing Cross District and sleeping on the banks of the River Thames. Charring Cross and Thames punctuated his enslavement and escape.
Thompson acknowledged that he was running from God, yet a certain biblical passage haunted him—the story of Jacob, who also spent most of his life on the run. The Bible tells of a dream Jacob had one night, of a ladder perched between heaven and earth and the Lord Himself at the top of the ladder. When Jacob awoke from the dream he said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” That story inspired Thompson to pen these words:
Readers of English poetry will recall the turbulent life of Francis Thompson. His father wanted him to study at Oxford, but Francis lost his way in drugs and failed to make the grade time and again. This was a slumbering genius, if only his life could be rescued. When Francis finally succumbed to the pursuing Christ, he penned his immortal “Hound of Heaven”:
I fled Him down the nights and down the days.
I fled Him down the arches of the years,
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
of my own mind: And in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
Down titanic glooms of chasmed fears
From those strong feet that followed, that followed after.
For though I knew His love that followed
Yet I was sore adread
Lest having Him I have naught else beside.
And he ends:
Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest me.
Running from God would be like a child locking her bedroom door to hide from her father, only to discover that the bedroom was built by her father—and he owns the door and the lock and the key.
The pursuing Hound of Heaven reminds Thompson, "All things betray thee who betrayest me." In other words, God says, "The things you are hiding in are mine, and thence will betray you to their Maker." The poem concludes with God's voice, "Rise, clasp My hand, and come! […] Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest, I am He Whom thou seekest!"
The apostle Paul was no stranger to God's approaches. A leader of the law, born of excellent blood, he had all he needed to follow God. But his heart did not follow until Jesus Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus. At that moment you could see the wriggling Paul as the most reluctant convert in the Roman Empire. Yet when Christ came to him, Paul chose to be a fish out of water.
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