Outside the pages of Scripture, my favorite line in literature can be found in Thomas Hardy's poem, "The Darkling Thrush" (I include the entire poem below, along with a recorded version Frances and I produced last year.)
"An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small, in blast-befuffled plume, had chosen thus to fling his soul upon the growing gloom."
The thrush is my hero. Like the battered and bound Apostle Paul and Silas, who raised a song of praise in a forlorn jail cell, the thrush raised his heart and voice in a gloom where seemingly no music should sound or resound (Acts 16:23-25). He flung his soul. He found and proclaimed in song a joy unknown to others. As Hardy concludes the poem, he confesses his inability to see the glories upon which the thrush gazed in wonder and sang with exhilaration:
"So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware."
I find nothing in literature (again, other than Scripture) that more depicts the life of faith to which God calls His trusting children in Christ. We presently live in a fallen world. Certainly many beautiful things grace our senses and our hearts as we walk with the Lord. However, we also find ourselves required to behold the glory of God in desolate scenes wherein we feel Hardy's sense of despair: "Every spirit upon earth seemed fervorless as I." This present world is not our home, and as we pass through, the ongoing deterioration of the present realm will often be painfully obvious. "The world passeth away" (I John 2:17). Thus, we must fling our soul, that is, we must trust God and His Word in our hearts, affirming His blessed hope in all things. We will not be disappointed for doing so, and like the thrush, our "carolings of such estatic sound" will shine our Lord's light in the darkness of this present world.
(Audio The Darkling Thrush -