“If travail has a purpose, let me find it now. If honor needs a taker, O Lord me endow. If wisdom is a garment, let me wear it well: if goodness needs a champion, help me dark dispel.” ~ Quillan Shepard
The thing I hear almost universally about my writing is, “The characters are so real,” and there’s a reason for that. While I’m writing, the characters are real. They act and speak and impart things that I put down on the page, sometimes in wonder. So it was an exciting thing for me to see my historical character Quillan Shephard’s poetry used as the foundation for a Facebook devotional on Coffee Break Devotions.
The blogger Lin Lowrimore, broke down the poem phrase by phrase and supported it with her own thoughts and with scripture:
“If travail has a purpose” –
Hebrews 12:11 states “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it”.
No matter the difficult situation in which we find ourselves – there is a purpose and there will be a time when we know the purpose. All we have to do is remain focused on our Heavenly Father through it all.
“If honor needs a taker, O Lord me endow”. The definition for honor is “uprightness, integrity, sincerity or high moral standard”. Scripture is filled with commands from God in HIS Word that we are to be upright, sincere and of high moral standard. Anything less is considered sin. In today’s world the idea of sin is simply not known or not discussed. Shame on us for not being honorable and upright, full of sincerity and high moral standard.
“If wisdom is a garment, let me wear it well”. When told he could ask for anything King Solomon asked for one thing – he asked for wisdom and as long as he focused on God and God alone – that wisdom served him well. How often in our modern lives do we fail to recognize the need for godly wisdom that can only come from the one TRUE God. We should pursue this so that it does become a garment that we wear well.
“If goodness needs a champion, help me dark dispel”. The definition of dark is “the absence or deficiency of light”. I don’t know about you but my thoughts of our world today is that there is a serious lack of light – that we are so engulfed in darkness that it is hard to find the light – THE Light – the Light that is Jesus Christ. We as Christian’s must dispel this darkness – God put us here to make the Light known – that is to make sure Jesus Christ is known.
The whole devotional is available at the link above, but what I want to say here is how incredible an experience it is to have my character’s poetry pondered. I know people will say I wrote the poem–and that’s true in the purest sense–but it was being in Quillan Shepard’s mind with all his travails in The Tender Vine that brought this poem to light, and to me that’s the power of parable or the creative magic of fiction. The separation between author and character that allows his words to stand on their own merit and shine light into the world simply amazes me.