Last Sunday we talked about how God wants to break the back of our self-reliance so that we can trust him. The truth is, as one writer Eugene Peterson said it, "The Kingdom of self is heavily defended territory." Sometimes we, like Jacob, need God's violence against our sinful nature so that we can surrender to him. This 400 year-old poem is by a man, John Donne, who knew that experience well. It can take some work to make sense of the language, but it's well worth it.
Batter my heart, three person’d God (Holy Sonnet 14)
John Donne, 1572 - 1631
Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but Oh, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy:
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.