What a relief

Five Minute Friday: Relief

The Pulley

By George Herbert


When God at first made man,

Having a glass of blessings standing by,

“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.

Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,

Contract into a span.”


So strength first made a way;

Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.

When almost all was out, God made a stay,

Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,

Rest in the bottom lay.


“For if I should,” said he,

“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,

He would adore my gifts instead of me,

And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;

So both should losers be.


“Yet let him keep the rest,

But keep them with repining restlessness;

Let him be rich and weary, that at least,

If goodness lead him not, yet weariness

May toss him to my breast.”



From His love He gives us so much. Strength, beauty, wisdom, honor, pleasure. He delights in our delight of these things. Until they become everything.

How easily we worship His gifts. How quickly the pursuit of them eclipses the pursuit of God Himself. It seems receiving His gifts would mean receiving Him. But in the end we are led away by them to believe we can have the gifts without the Giver—even that we deserve them, must have them. We swallow the lie and reach for the fruit.

We fancy ourselves strong, beautiful, wise. We build our mansions and live for pleasure. But oh, how weary we are.

We will not find rest until we find Him. Relief is the letting go, the burden of glory thumping to the ground as we slump into His arms. We are not good enough to find Him, but we are weary enough. Receiving Him begins with rest. Rest is the pulley that pulls us to Him. After that, all the rest will follow.

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”–Augustine

2 thoughts on “What a relief

  1. I’m anything but weary
    as at cancer’s table I must sup.
    Let me say this, very clearly:
    I’m just warming up.
    There’s little comfort, little sleep,
    and all the auguries are grim,
    but you will never see me weep,
    and in my smile, death cannot win.
    It’s up to me to grasp the nettle
    of the day, though there is pain,
    and in this I may show my mettle
    to be here, and to remain.
    You don’t find glory in one act;
    it grows when you keep faith intact.


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