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“To gather fortitude from pain”

My poem of the week this week is “Last Lines,” by Anne Brontë. John Starke cited a portion of this poem last week on Twitter which sent me looking for the full poem. The message of the poem fits very well with 2 Cor 1 which we discussed in class this morning. This is a powerful, moving portrait of perseverance through suffering by faith.

 

I hoped, that with the brave and strong,

      My portioned task might lie;

To toil amid the busy throng,

      With purpose pure and high.

 

But God has fixed another part,

      And He has fixed it well;

I said so with my bleeding heart,

      When first the anguish fell.

 

A dreadful darkness closes in

      On my bewildered mind;

Oh, let me suffer and not sin,

      Be tortured, yet resigned.

 

Shall I with joy thy blessings share

      And not endure their loss?

Or hope the martyr’s crown to wear

      And cast away the cross?

 

Thou, God, hast taken our delight,

      Our treasured hope away;

Thou bidst us now weep through the night

      And sorrow through the day.

 

These weary hours will not be lost,

      These days of misery,

These nights of darkness, anguish-tost,

      Can I but turn to Thee.

 

Weak and weary though I lie,

      Crushed with sorrow, worn with pain,

I may lift to Heaven mine eye,

      And strive to labour not in vain;

 

That inward strife against the sins

      That ever wait on suffering

To strike whatever first begins:

      Each ill that would corruption bring;

 

That secret labour to sustain

      With humble patience every blow;

To gather fortitude from pain,

      And hope and holiness from woe.

 

Thus let me serve Thee from my heart,

      Whate’er may be my written fate:

Whether thus early to depart,

      Or yet a while to wait.

 

If thou shouldst bring me back to life,

      More humbled I should be;

More wise, more strengthened for the strife,

      More apt to lean on Thee.

 

Should death be standing at the gate,

      Thus should I keep my vow;

But, Lord! whatever be my fate,

      Oh, let me serve Thee now!

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