When I Was Young

When I was young I knew so well how we could all survive
we’ll make our foes our friends I said
and then we’ll start to jive
My philosophy was simple, to drink life to the lees
I drank, I swore, I partied, I did whatever I pleased,
then one day I gave it up and fell down on my knees.
Yet there was something missing there, a time to see, a time to hear
and the heavy things I carried alone, I didn’t have to bear.
I said “God will help me get the dreams,
the ones I hold so dear!”
but God did not deliver on my selfish, empty prayer.

I thought the sun was dawning to burn the clouds away
but instead of turning to His peace, I plunged into the fray
I thought “I know I’m righteous, unlike my friends across the way
my efforts I’ll redouble and I will not long delay
to grind their faces in the dust, I’ll shame them all today.”
I argued with the heathen, I argued with the cults,
I argued with those other guys,
denominations I think they’re call’t
and all of my devotion to humiliating the foe
only turned people away from Him, a fact I now well know.

Jesus had been knocking, so long upon the door
I did not hear the sound of it, because I was so sure
that my continued aggression, would make me good and pure.
To me the clouds of heaven were dull as old gray lead,
and I had not even heard a single thing He’d said.
He knew the thing I overlooked and what a thing it was
for I was wandering in the mist, lost in a religious fog
And I did not even possess the sense that God gave a dog.
A dog, he knows his master, but I could not clearly see
that outside the religious mist, Jesus stood waiting for me.
I tried devotion to the church, I tried to serve, I worked so hard
but for all the good it did me I might have been beating a lump of lard
The Master was always guiding me, though I was not aware
I did not even recognize that He was really there.

So now the answer comes in the twilight of my years
all I had to learn to do was open up my ears
God wants us to hear Him of this I now am sure
and all that precious other stuff ain’t worth a bucket of manure
He knows me better than I do, and He loves me just the same
and the greatest surprise of all, He calls me by my name.

If we haven’t seen the light, then who will see it for us
If we haven’t heard the song, then who will sing the chorus.
If we work for bread alone, our sweat is all in vain
If we won’t listen to Jesus, then we will surely miss His train.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Dreams / Vision, God, Hearing God, Jesus, Journaling, Poem, religion, Writing

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4 Comments on “When I Was Young”

  1. Mike Says:

    I walked into a store the other day. A contemporary song was playing that I recognized but I had never caught what it was saying.

    I think it was ‘Say the words that’s on your lips; no one else will say them for you’. I thought about my writing. Write what I have to say. No one else will write it for you.

    We have walked a similar path. We who have now seen the light . . . must write and tell it.

    • Nathan Says:

      I must admit I have my stubborn moments, but mostly I must write and I must tell people about Him.
      Since I grew up in an aggressively witnessing community, I have seen how that can be abused, so often I am simply around the people He sends me to, not grabbing them by the collar, but speaking to them in a friendly manner.
      If you make yourself available and look for His cues He will send people for you to talk to.
      I look at the Acts of the Apostles and I see a group of men who are guided by Him and simply doing what He directs them to do.
      Like little kids we need to learn to do as we are told.
      Write on brother Mike and bless you.

  2. Rachel Says:

    Truly enjoyed this poem. So much truth within it. When we force – all it does is turn people away. It is about love and being that fragrance of the love of Christ. But you can only truly be that if you have that love within -and for most of us knowing and owning that love is a process.


    • Nathan Says:

      Thank you Rachel,
      Yes I am becoming more sensitive to the ways I might be offending people these days. But somehow that does not always keep me from blundering into a social faux pas on occasion. I still find myself regretting things I have said, and the memory of them plays again and again in my mind.
      Yes, He is always kinder to me about my screw-ups than I am to myself.
      I have always been gregarious, but I have often stuck my foot in my mouth. I will be glad when I am mature enough that I no longer have to taste my toes.
      He is gracious with me, He reminds me that I am human and while my last mistake may have been bad, that mistakes will happen and He is still changing me. It is because of His generosity that I can be generous. It is truly because of His love that I can love, and that anyone will sense it. It is certainly none of my doing!
      Praise Him!


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