Help my belief

I always pictured belief

to be the tall figure of Abraham

counting stars, laughing

under the sparkling joy of a promise.

Or the voice of the fiery prophet

calling in the wilderness

and the rock-sure conviction

of the way.



You said to abide

and that seemed simple when

in the company of these,

the promise-blessed,

the bearers of a clear

and mighty message.


That command, abide,

comes easy in the green pastures.

Who doesn’t want to rest

by the still, cool stream?

Who wouldn’t follow the voice

that leads there?


But when the voice takes me

up the mountain of sacrifice

and the way leads to the cold

chains of a cell,

what then?

Belief becomes a shaking hand

trembling to obey,

a question whispered in the dark:

Who are You?


Yes, who are You,

who would lead this way,

allow this, who would seem

to disappear at the very

moment of our struggle?


Where are you

when the child is crying out, bewildered,

and the powerful are mocking?


In the end, belief may be

a small voice crying

on the roadside for healing,

a secret conversation in the night

full of questions,

the tremulous reaching

to touch the hem

of Your robe.


In the end, we may have

a ram in the thicket,

a miracle healing,

or only a promise in the dark:

“I am the One;

watch for Me.”


And in the end

the turning toward You,

the endless small steps taken

in the valley of death,

are seeds falling,

waiting to unfurl.


This is the truest belief.

The timid reaching for Your

hand in the dark.


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