Every so often, it seems like a good time to share my favorite poem with you, that is, "The Darkling Thrush" by Thomas Hardy. For various reasons, this seems like one of those occasions.
"The Darkling Thrush"
(Thomas Hardy, December 31, 1900)
The thrush is my favorite literary figure. Outside of Scripture, no character more thrills, inspires, and challenges me to see and affirm God's working in all things, including times of "the growing gloom." I do not know whether Thomas Hardy was a believer. Some historical indication is that he was not. The Lord nevertheless moved upon him as he wrote "The Darkling Thrush," providing a special grace of imagery, inspiration, and meaning. I have never read the poem without being deeply affected, to the point of often being moved to tears (as in the present reading). I suspect I never will.
"They caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, and brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, and teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God."
(Acts 16:19-25; emphasis added)