To Remind Us Of What Matters

The World, by George Herbert

Love built a stately house, where Fortune came,
And spinning fancies, she was heard to say
That her fine cobwebs did support the frame,
Whereas they were supported by the same;
But Wisdom quickly swept them all away.

The Pleasure came, who, liking not the fashion,
Began to make balconies, terraces,
Till she had weakened all by alteration;
But reverend laws, and many a proclomation
Reforméd all at length with menaces.

Then entered Sin, and with that sycamore
Whose leaves first sheltered man from drought and dew,
Working and winding slily evermore,
The inward walls and summers cleft and tore;
But Grace shored these, and cut that as it grew.

Then Sin combined with death in a firm band,
To raze the building to the very floor;
Which they effected,--none could them withstand;
But Love and Grace took Glory by the hand,
And built a braver palace than before.

I was reading this poem a few weeks ago, and I thought about how it applied to a lot of my life right now. It reminds me of how we’re getting rid of things that seem to matter and are reminded that they’re just things. As we move into a less certain financial future, as we give up little pleasures here and there, we find that some of those pleasures were things that were weakening us.

I’m so glad that we have a house, a braver palace, built on a firm foundation. In the last couple months, I’ve been singing one of the stanzas to How Firm a Foundation over when I’ve been feeling scared about something.

“Fear not, I am with thee, oh be not dismayed. For I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.”

The kids and I recently listened to The Hobbit lately, and the image of the last homely house is such a poignant image to me. A place of refuge to the weary. A place of beauty, conversation, music, art, good food. A place to rest. It’s a good inspiration for me as we set up house in a new place. I continually pray that our home will be a restful place for those who visit.

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