For hands stained
with unqualified regret,
for all us Davids who murmur it:
I have failed and fallen,
in what I have wholeheartedly attempted to do,
and what I’ve wholly failed to do,
and in all I’ve done that’s fallen far short, and lays there painfully at fault—-
Is it possible to come wash
in the fountaining source
of fresh forgiveness?
For intentions and systems may fail,
but it’s truer that souls ultimately do.
And well-meaning explanations
can end up looking like mean excuses, as if both sincerity and apology were half-trying to excuse their sorry selves.
For there is shame that isn’t merely a lowering of the eyes,
but a pierced spearing
that snatches away the breath
and sucker punches the soul
with endless wretching
on self —-
but there is no vomiting free of
Is it possible to feel like
there’s a stinger that cannot be removed from the soul,
the vein of
Every pained thing
is done in plain view
And every wrong
that leaves us undone
is done ultimately
Who catches God when He heaves and bleeds?
Who bruises the face of God and walks away?
Who can believe that David threw around his weight and position
until he crushed a woman
under the sin of his full-bodied lust,
and yet he winds his way back
on stinging skinned knees
to the feet of God,
to feel his failure finally
lifted off flattened lungs ——
to exhale the expansiveness of
grace that is weightless.
Who can believe that Nebuchadnezzar’s pride defied
till he was laid low on all fours,
foaming at his boasting-now-bovine mouth,
chewing on grass ripped from the earth with his bare teeth,
for more than 2,000 naked days
under the beating elements,
until he came to
his surrendered mind
and willing feet
and was returned to humble power from the humiliation of the pasture,
even more able than he had been before,
his needed cud-years ruminating him into restoration?
Who can believe Peter scorched his own soul with his repeated denial of Jesus,
the hostility around Caiphas’ fire absolutely terrifying,
only for the resurrected Jesus
to light a fire on the beach
and Peter to turn,
filled with the burning scent of shame,
and hear Christ’s humbling hospitality
to come eat,
to come and be entrusted still with work in the Kingdom
to humbly feed Christ’s sheep?
Who has the gall to believe
there is still a gusher of love that cleans life’s grime and any of conscience’s contamination,
or hushes the hauntings that howl in the hallways of the mind?
But maybe — nothing remakes everything like grace.
Maybe: Trust that there is no such thing as destruction, only reconstruction.
Trust that nothing ruins,
only ruins you for anything less than God.
Trust that what is coming at you,
is God coming for you.
Trust that what looks like a wave to carry you away,
Is the wave that will carry you to shore.
Trust and obey the One who walks on waves
will make a highway
Out of everything that rises in your way
Trust that breathing in His pure, unadulterated passion for the broken-hearted—
is what creates in the broken a pure heart.
And what makes even us whiter than snow —- is melting into the depths of His unfathomable love.
Maybe what fixes all that’s broken is to cast everything aside but His presence.
Maybe life is a long repentance in His direction.
And maybe it is actually possible —-
Surrender to the Master,
the thrumming drum of your heart
Reworked, Reformed, Remade,
And your joy in His always enoughness
And one shattered heart erupts into a fountain of need,
and one broken heart becomes a geyser for glory,
And one split heart is a sacrifice that streams with amens
to the One who is the Source of all things.