After the tragic events at the high school in Oxford, MI on November 30th last year, I noticed many high school students wrote poetry to give voice to their anger, pain, questions, and cries. Their writing revealed a deep struggle to understand and lament great suffering as those who have no hope. Prayerfully, this poem was written to teach, encourage, and ultimately point to Christ – who is the great source of our hope. I’ve learned how poetry is such a powerful tool to serve others, as words may be richly arranged to (1) give language to the soul, (2) help bring our questions before the Living God who speaks to us, (3) awaken naturally dull minds to spiritual sight, (4) communicate glorious truths that encourage fearful saints to behold our awesome God, and (5) unite people toward great causes. The contents of this poem were chosen to tie the questions and cries that were heard behind the words of student poetry to the magnificent truths of scripture.
“A Bleeding, Beating Hope” – A Prayer for Oxford
We are a people, poor and needy
Flesh is our clothing,
Death is certain.
We are a people, who in vain attempt to flee
An inescapable reality.
Enslaved by the fear of death,
Bitterly, we reap the consequences
Of placing our hope in what is transient.
No stable ground for untethered souls
Grasping after vapors which cannot hold,
Aching for an anchor so sure and deep,
A Shepherd who will call and keep.
In mercy we are made to face,
The paralyzing, wide embrace
– of desperation.
Voice is given to lament,
By Him who knows our frame.
He remembers we are dust,
The Man of Sorrows bore our shame.
Spirit searches hearts and minds,
It is He who causes us to cry:
“Heal me and I shall be healed,
Save me and I shall be saved”.
Only He breathes life ‘pon the depraved.
A bleeding, beating hope arises
from the wasteland of despair.
Burning embers now aflame,
Rising safely on the wings
Of what cannot be shaken.
All pain bows to the Living God,
Who speaks and darkness dissipates.
Fearfully and wondrously immutable,
This trajectory is irrefutable –
Proud waves are reigned to smooth jagged stone.
Frozen ground is thawed by a heat that serves to heal.
All mysterious shall be at once made clear.
On that day–
When the skies roll back and the stars fall,
King of Kings will ride,
New creation will dawn.
Triumphant over the grave,
Alone He holds
The keys of death and hades.
This bleeding, beating hope
shall be made sight,
Captivated by Holy,
We shall behold our Savior’s face,
Sighing shall cease, only praise. by Emily Burrows