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January 26, 2009


(I know, I know...this poem was written in the 1600's. But bear with it for a minute of your time. And if you still cannot understand it, I will explain what it means at the end of your agonizing read :) )



Batter my heart, three-person'd 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 usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, 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 betroth'd 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.

John Donne is praying out of the purest sense of desperation, out of will to be rid of the sin that separates him from God. It is an earnest prayer, a committed, open-wounded, a lashing out against his reasoning, to embrace God's. He dares to find himself in a state of betrothal to Satan! Even more, he realizes that he will never, ever be free of the enemy unless God "ravishes" (in essence, rapes or overwhelms) him. He wishes God would get rid of sinful nature forever, and imprison him in God's love.

Give me a show of hands: who has ever asked God to "imprison" you with His love? To divorce you from the enemy?

This poem reminds me of a passage of scripture, Romans 7:14-25. Paul talks about himself (and humanity) as a slave to sinful nature.

I challenge you: Are you complacent in your sin? Do you actually somewhat enjoy your sin, and don't want to give it up? Do you pray for God to ravish you?

How desperate are you for God?

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