If. . .

I wanted to share my favorite poem with you today.  I first read it while I was in seminary after hearing a portion of the second stanza in a song by one my favorite bands at the time.  I was reminded of it again recently and what a powerful poem it is.  I’ll let you read it before I tell you why this poem is so significant to me.



(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

While it is not a perfect picture, to me this poem expresses something essential to what it means to live by the indwelling life of Christ. When you rely on Christ as you life and nothing else, not only will you experience His life, but His suffering as well!

In 1 Peter 4:12-13, Peter writes:

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.

The Apostle Paul also wrote in Philippians 3:10, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death.

The Lord willingly emptied Himself of his divine rights (Philippians 2) to become human.  He was a man of sorrow, despised and rejected (Isaiah 53:3).  All that He had worked for seemed lost and stripped from Him as He was abandoned by all who followed Him.  He allowed Himself to be utterly humiliated in death.

He continued onward in all this without complaint, being obedient to His Father, trusting in the glory that would come.

The same Lord lives inside of you and your brothers and sisters!  You will face rejection.  You will face sorrows and suffering.  You may lose all things.

However, no matter what happens, hold fast to the Lord inside you!  Cling to Him with every fiber of your being!  He will never abandon you, no matter what it feels like!  If we are willing to share in the Lord’s sufferings, we will also experience His glory and victory in the end!

To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” – Revelation 3:21

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3 Responses

  1. I love that poem too, for the exact same reason. It is a description of the life of Jesus Christ. How many only want to share in His victory. The only way to share in His victory, is to first share in His suffering. How sweet it is to share anything with our glorious Lord!

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