By Michael Stalcup
after Charles Spurgeon
I know not where I go, but know with whom
I brave these bleak and beauty-broken lands
and know that though he leads me through the tomb
yet even there my life is in his hands.
Like Christ, I cannot see around the bend
of death except believe the Father’s call
and pour my life out, trusting him to mend
this tattered soul so ravaged by the Fall--
for all the paths of God will end in pure
unmingled good to every heir of grace,
and though the world would with its fires lure,
its warmth cannot compare to his embrace.
So lead me through the valleys when you must,
my Father — only this: help me to trust.
Author's note: Christ knew the resurrection would follow his self-sacrifice and, similarly, we know that we will rise again at the resurrection. Here I am emphasizing Christ's shared humanity with us. Jesus was fully human as well as fully divine... and so, in a certain sense, he had to go to the cross in faith that God would raise him from the dead. This is a great mystery, of course, but by "I cannot see," I am emphasizing that, although Christ knew he would rise from the dead, Jesus, in his humanity, could not "see" around that bend until he lived through it. Jesus was the firstfruits of the bodily resurrection of all humanity, and in his full humanity, I believe it is well within the realm of orthodox belief to speak of Jesus modeling faithfulness for us who also must follow in faith, knowing of our resurrection--and living toward it--without yet "seeing" it with our eyes.
Michael Stalcup is a Thai American missionary living in Bangkok, Thailand. His poems have been published in Commonweal Magazine, Ekstasis Magazine, First Things, Presence, Sojourners Magazine, and elsewhere. He co-teaches Spirit & Scribe, a workshop helping writers to integrate spiritual formation and writing craft. You can find more of his work at michaelstalcup.com.
'I Know Not Where I Go' first appeared in Resolute Magazine. It has been republished here with the author's permission.
Michael's other work published on Foreshadow:
Sometimes Mercy (Poetry, September 2022)
Covenant Prayer (Poetry, September 2022)
Lines Last (Poetry, September 2022)
Cultivating (Poetry, October 2022)