This morning I was reading, The Call, by Os Guinness. In it he sites a powerful poem by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I haven’t read nearly enough by Bonhoeffer to know thoroughly his theological positions or what I do and don’t agree with him on, but this I know…he was a voice against Nazi terror when most were silent. He had freedom in the United States but returned shortly after knowing that his move to the States was in error and against God’s will for his life. His obedience cost him his physical life as he was hanged in Germany a week before Hitler committed suicide. He wrote the following from a jail cell as his life and the war were coming to an end. I hope that something here resonates with you as you seek to be more like Jesus…

Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country-house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I would talk to my warders
freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I would bear the days of misfortune
equally, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I know of myself?
restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
hungry for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
thirsty for words of kindness, for neighborlinessr
caught up in expectation of great events,
trembling with anger at despotisms and petty humiliation,
powerlessly grieving for friends at an infinite distance,
weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?|
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God, I am Thine!

I praise God that in all my frailty and failures, I can agree with Bonhoeffer, “Oh God, I am Yours!”  If you can’t agree with that today, what stands in your way?

 

 

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