A poem by Paul Biebel

I got down on my knees and began to pray,
“I’m unworthy again, Lord, I failed today
My faith feels so weak, it’s a pitiful display.
I make such a mess when I do things my way

Would you help me again? What else can I pray?
I’m lost like a sheep and I’ve gone astray”

Broken and shattered, just ashes and flames,
Dreams all but memories, myself only to blame
But I prayed to the Lord and He remembered my name
The Lord heard “my” prayer, to my rescue He came

I remember His touch and his gentle reply
“If it was all up to you, child, then for what did I die?”

I thought back to that day when He freed me from sin,
It was a long time ago that I invited Him in
The King of all Kings had come as a friend
His patient persistence, his waiting, no end

I was dust, I was nothing, I still can’t believe
That the giver of Life came looking for me

Like a baby back then, I discovered new ways
I grew in the Lord and was happy those days
But little by little, I slipped slowly away
Temptation and struggles had led me astray

My growing had stopped and my heart had grown cold
My ways were religious but my faith became old

Again, He came looking, He knew I was lost
He showed clear direction; His way, the cross
I heard a voice, like a Good Shepherd sounds
Calling my name, his hand turning around

His compassion, his mercy, his personal grip
Touched me again, even though I had slipped

I told an old friend once that I’m always surprised
I’m not even sure why God faithfully replies
Yet, after all these years, God has always prevailed
In keeping his promise, though many times I failed.

My friend said to me with a gentle rebuke,
“The Lord is the Lord, his promise is true
Don’t be surprised that He always comes through
If he said it, believe it, and He’ll do it for you”

I thought, I pondered, What Had I heard?
I had faith in his promise, I trusted his Word
I thought again, I wondered why
If I wasn’t surprised, then what was I?

Something inside me felt strangely unclear
To be saved and not deserve it felt different, I fear

Then… a fire came raging, a trial much too hot,
Consuming my weak faith. Surprised? I’m not.
Failures came fast and crippled me
And left me fruitless again with a faithless decree

I gave up on life and it gave up on me.

But there in the darkness, I felt His great Love
For though I was faithless, His hand from above
Reached down again and set my soul free
From fear and depression and darkness and …me

What can I say? I just can’t believe
That seventy times seven He keeps caring about me.

I shared how I felt with my dearest old friend
“Of the mercy of God, I’m undeserving again!
I can’t help my surprise that God doesn’t give in
And toss me away as useless to Him

There’s so many others so faithful and pure
Why bother with me? I’m hopeless for sure.”

With a smile, he came over and hugged me real tight
Remembering his own sin, and how the LORD made him right
He spoke of a difference between day and night
And how God made new meaning come into his life

Then he looked in my face and with tears in his eye
He said “Don’t be surprised that God just happens by
For only He who could save men like you and I”

When I think about Joe, now with Jesus above
He was never surprised at God’s fullness of love
To answer a prayer, to rescue a soul
To heal someone sick, to make someone whole.

If Joe was here, I’m sure he would say
“Don’t be so surprised when God comes your way
He promised he would, and that means he will
His proof is the cross. Just wait and be still”

Well, it took some time for Joe to get through
I needed to learn what I already knew
Tho I’ve been taught well and I’ve lived most of my days
There’s still more to discover about God and his ways

I know what is true and I’ve now realized,
When God keeps His promise, I’m no longer surprised

But there’s one other thing that I’ll just share with you
Something Joe was saying and trying to get through
Though unworthy was I, of His love and His ways
God opened my eyes, now I marvel and praise

From now on, when God touches me in such personal ways
I won’t be surprised…..just Always Amazed!

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About Allen Burns

Allen serves as an elder and is the Staff Pastor-Teacher at Christ Community Church