Only Then

“This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.” 1

When trouble has wiped the last
of your cherished treasures
from the quivering lips
of your gracious smile…

When your frown has drained
all discontent and bitter envy
from your elegantly fit
and satiated bile…

When pride has burnt the seat
of your most humbling flatter
with its shrieking howl
and piercing lie…

When restlessness has wrecked
the lushness of your cushion
and has left you without
any comfort to cry…

When your frustration has spilled
your carefully guarded dreams
and shielded aspirations,
into wasted days…

When your fiery temper has rent
all assumptions of your own
fine choosing, snagged by
an unsound faith…

When your rising doubt has kicked
your rosy heart into a cauldron
of vengeful, unforgiving hate
and mounting fears…

When your swelling boil has birthed
its ignorant and towering dread
and has ceased to prize
your lukewarm tears…

When utmost panic has clubbed
your last smoldering will
to live another bleak
pathetic moment…

When your own rage has thrust
all illusions of your goodness
beneath your own vile guile
and murderous bent…

When confusion has strangled
all your worthless excuses
and flesh falls trembling
from your empty face…

When God has rightly judged you
His passion ablaze and just
seethed in purest mercy
steeped in grace…

“Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.” 2

Only then will you be quick to hear
His summon to repent and to recover in Him.

Only then will you be able to devour
God’s everlasting words of truth and grace.

Only then will you be ready to comprehend
the wounds that bled with a healing forgiveness.

Only then will you be willing to accept
Christ’s disposition and request to follow Him.

Petra O. Hefner

1. Job 38:11
2. Joel 2:13


3 thoughts on “Only Then

  1. “Yes, many will want to welcome the wounds of a healing forgiveness, but only those who hate their sin will know the cost and its significance.”

    This is true. We are often much more spiritually ill than we ever realize or will honestly acknowledge.


  2. So many interesting contrasts and images in the poem, Petra, that cut through and reveal that the self-deceptive, nice, polite, false ‘face’ we put on each morning and labour to keep pasted on all day is not impenatrable to the Holy Spirit. This is your best blog yet because it doesn’t just tell me stuff it gets through the craks of my resistance and provokes me to think.

    I shall not sit down today without thinking of:

    ‘When restlessness has wrecked
    the lushness of your cushion
    and has left you without
    any comfort to cry…’


  3. Your word crafting is amazing–only the message is stronger
    . . . and I found the use of the Job passage sobering. How many times in life have I needed my proud waves halted!


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