I’ve been writing poems and songs most of my life, but I didn’t really take the responsibility of stewarding the gift of “words” seriously until about ten years ago. I’ve been much more consistent about writing in an intentional way (as opposed to just when the mood strikes) since then.
One of the first things I did when I made the decision to be “intentional” was put together a little devotional book. I very quickly (within just a few months) wrote 35 devotions based on songs and poems I had written in the past. At the time, I put a few homemade copies together for friends, but never did much else with it. Recently, I felt the nudge to take another look at it and now I’m praying about doing a bit of editing and making it available in book format.
As a first step, I’m posting a sample here. The devo (including the prayer) was written for the book about ten years ago, but the poem is much older than that.
Here it is:
Can You Hear the City Cry?
Luke 19:41-42 Jesus saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”
Several years ago, the calm of the sleepy little bedroom community I lived in was shattered. Within days and blocks of each other, a teenage boy shot his mother to death and a distraught young mother murdered her two small children. The community was stunned. Things like that happened far away in big mean cities, but certainly not in our cute little town.
Obviously, I had already known there were many people in my city who desperately needed Jesus. The Lord had often given me glimpses beyond the upper-middle class smiles of my neighbors and allowed me to see hearts that were empty and searching. But this week was different. It was a sobering reminder that darkness can prevail where there is no hope.
My little house was on something of a hill, and if you looked out the window leading to the patio and cocked your head just right, you could look out over the lights of the city. I remember just staring out that window with a heaviness in my heart that was almost unbearable. And for just a moment, as I stood there in the silence — listening with my heart rather than my physical ears — I heard that sleepy little city cry. I heard cries of desperation, cries of fear, cries of loneliness and hopelessness and helplessness. I was overwhelmed and crumbled to the floor sobbing. I pleaded with the Lord to fill that city with His light–and His hope.
After awhile, the heaviness lifted a bit and I got up and went to bed. Later in the week, as I was reflecting on that evening, I remembered how Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem. Oh, how He longed to embrace them, longed to help them, longed to comfort and heal them! But they simply were not willing to receive Him. His heart was broken. His heart is still broken as many, to this day, choose darkness over light.
The Lord shared His heart with me on that evening for just a moment–then I got up and went to bed. But He never slumbers nor sleeps. As long as there is even one lost sheep wandering from the fold, His heart is still aching. What He shared with me, for a brief moment, was just a tiny glimpse of what is in His heart all the time. I heard the cries of one little city, for just a little while, on one evening. He hears every cry, in every city, every single night. And when He does …
He cries too.
Can You Hear the City Cry?People hurrying here and there Rushing through each day Running along, running behind Or simply running away And deep in the stillness of the night … Can you hear the city cry? Broken dreams and broken lives Hide in the shadows of every street Fear haunts far too many eyes In the faces that I meet And deep in the stillness of the night … Can you hear the city cry? Listen with the Father’s heart See with His clear knowing eyes And deep in the stillness of the night You can hear the city cry A lost generation, in a godless age So empty and without hope Desperately seeking fulfillment Yet turning down all the wrong roads And deep in the stillness of the night … Can you hear the city cry? I’m filled with such deep longing And a desire from above To share the hope found in Jesus alone Through His priceless love For deep in the stillness of the night I know His heart breaks each and every time … He hears the city cry
How Your heart breaks for those who are far from You. How fervently You long to gather them under the shelter of Your wings. Lord, You see every tear, You hear every cry, and You feel the pain of every broken heart. You long to comfort each one. But Lord, You also give us free will. The freedom to turn to You–and the freedom to turn from You. Your love is too pure to ever force us to love You, but oh, how You desire that we would! Thank You for Your mercy and patience in reaching out to those who in their ignorance rebel against You. Thank You, Father, that You patiently waited for me. Send me in any way You choose to reach out to those who are so hopelessly lost without You. I want to share Your heart and I want to be a pure reflection of the Truth. So Lord, please, help me to take the love You’ve poured out on me with such abundance, and pour it out on those who so desperately need to know Your love.
In the name of Jesus, Amen
I’d really appreciate any feedback. I’m not sure there is much of a niche for a book filled with similarly formatted devos (scripture, devotion, poem/song, prayer) but who knows!