A Rough Row


I knew-
    oh, yes, right from the beginning
I knew-
This row You'd given me to hoe
         was rough,
Yet--I accepted it--
               received into my open palms most willingly
                                    the hoe.
The hoe
            of Your choosing.
The row
           of Your choosing.
      was my desire
More than anything...
            to BE steadfast in You
            by letting you BE steadfast in me.

Year in
           year out
                       the seasons come and go
                                     go and come again
                                                                 and yet again.
More rocks, more thistles
      than I imagined.
                                 No rain...
                                                so very many crows.
Oh, Lord...my Lord...
           how large IS this cornfield?
I stumble,
The corn is watered with my tears,
                      and yet
You knew-
     oh, yes, right from the beginning
You knew-
I would not lay the hoe aside
                                       and walk away.
As painful as this field is,
I simply will not walk away.
This field is mine...
                            Your choice for me.
No other field will do.

Satan, slithering in his shady tree,
    whispers in his oily tone,
"It's all a cosmic prank,
                    a mental trick...
Perhaps there IS no cornfield, my sweet,
And you have spent these years
    in the middle of nothing
           chopping at a void
                 with a nonexistent hoe!"

But the Spirit
       With all the wondrous strength
              Of His divine manhood
                      Speaks His eternal Word-
              wait on....
                            and hope
Where all worldly reason for hope
                                                          is gone."
And in the toe-tips of my soul
I know-
     oh, yes, right from the beginning
I've known-
YOUR reasons for hoping on like Abraham
                            are never...
And, so,
             my Lord and my Redeemer,
Through tear-puddled eyes
I look upon my hands
           where they curl 'round the wooden pole.
The skin is worn off...
                                all of it...
                                              every bit.
Dried blood seals raw flesh
    so closely to the wood
No longer air... or even blisters...
         can come between.
                                        There is no between.
The bleeding flesh
                           and blood-soaked wood
                                                               have become
And we knew-
    oh, yes, right from the beginning
We knew-
    I would not lay Your chosen hoe

(Jo Anzalone   8-11-93)