Things Are True
by Pastor Dan Coburn
The day Timothy McVey was executed, he handed a copy of the following poem to the warden. It is, to me, a striking testimony of defiance in an age that exalts defiance. The poem is entitled “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley.
“Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul.
Sometime later, a very Godly woman named Dorothea Day wrote this in response; “Out of the night that dazzles me Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
I thank the God I know to be for Christ the Conqueror of my soul.
Since His the sway of circumstance, I would not wince nor cry aloud.
Under that rule which men call chance My head with Joy is humbly bowed.
Beyond this place of sin and tears That life with Him! And His the aid,
Despite the menace of the years, Keeps, and shall Keep me unafraid.
I have no fear, though straight the gate, He cleared from punishment the scroll
Christ is the master of my fate, Christ is the Captain of my soul.
Do you see how these two views are diametrically opposed? No wonder 1st Corr. 1:18 says “the word of the cross is foolishness to them that are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God unto salvation”. Ultimately, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Phil. 2:10-11). No matter how or where it happens, it is going to happen. For some of us, it will be great joy through tear filled eyes as faith becomes sight and we marvel at the fact that He is more incredibly splendid than we had ever imagined. For others, it will be an indescribable feeling of doom, separation and loss, capped off by hopelessness. It truly is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of God’s wrath.
Let’s turn the Spiritual Switch. It is after all Christmas time, so what’s all the fuss about this time of year? Do you believe in Christmas? Do you believe in God? Do these questions make you uncomfortable? Do you believe God? The shepherds did. You know, the he-man, in their fields abiding shepherds you have sung about since you were little? After the light show, and all the angels and spontaneous uncontrollable singing and praise, and after the (he-man) shepherds could walk again they said what? “Let’s go to town and see if this is true”? NO! They said this as recorded in Luke 2:15 “Let us now go even unto Beth-lehem and see this thing which has come to pass”.
You see they believed God. “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness”–Romans 4:3. Believing in God isn’t enough. He knows He exists. He wants you to Believe Him, and you get to decide right now if you do or not. Which poem will you recite in eternity? Merry Christmas.