Why I Can’t Rescue You


“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.”

– Vance Havner –

They say an eagle will push her chick from the nest to teach it flight,

But I see you plummeting with no downy back in sight

To bear up underneath you, to catch you before gravity overwhelms.

Your face stills, dry of laughter as desert bones,

Your hands lay unmoved in your lap. I know

That there must be something to do, some way to break in.

Jagged incisor-tooth mountains of fear taunt you,

And I grab up a stick to keep them at bay, wondering who

Else would come to rescue if I don’t.

Your closet holds monsters I can’t see, monsters of memory

And deeper scars than routine life reveals, and heavy mysteries

That bow your soul, stoop your shoulders.

You walk a moon-basked road lined with hidden pain that leaps

Upon you every chance it can, creeps

Upon you, leaves you breathless again.

They say an eagle catches the chick she made to fall…

But I am not an eagle, I find, not at all.

Too few feathers, and can’t fly myself.

I tried to be your desert fount and found not joy enough

To irrigate the desolation of a true-thirsty soul. Not enough.

My joy ran dry in trying it.

I shook my stick at the mountains, and they bit

Back with all their craggy wrath, and I never before knew it–

How feeble a stick is against a face of stone.

I brought out a candle to shine into your closet of fears,

And found there dark that swallowed all my mustered light in tears,

So my light wasn’t light enough.

And your moon-bright path of anguish lurking is a path barred

To all but one. Yourself, the scarred,

Must walk it alone.

This is why I can’t rescue you.

My wings, joy-fount, my stick too,

Stub of candle, company…all not enough.

So maybe I’ve been sent for this instead,

To play John and shout out the Lamb’s coming tread

Upon the dry sands of your soul.

To tell you the Eagles are coming before very long,

That the plummet ends in feathered wing, not from

An untimely meeting with the ground.

To run ahead and call out to you the coming end of desert,

Proclaim a day free from burning sun, a coming rest

Where joy will spring unhindered from a truer Fount.

I searched and found a surer Mountain-Slayer than my stick,

A Mountain-Layer, Molder, Engraver, to whom they are toothpicks,

With hands strong-tender enough to hold the fears at bay, and hold you.

I’ll come to you and blush color in praise, like a dawning sky

Crowns the rising of day’s king as he lifts his gold eye on high,

For a Light comes, light enough for every darkest closet you have.

And your lonely road–pain-wracked, thorn-tangled way?

He that molded the soft moon molded, too, that dark way

And meets you there, He who, too, is the Scarred.

This is why I cannot rescue you, be your savior, make it all right and good,

But maybe every sad thing, after all, is coming untrue, and would

You let me walk into believing it with you?

“I raise my eyes toward the mountains.
    Where will my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
    the maker of heaven and earth.”

– Psalm 12:1-2, CEB –


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