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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Feeling Needed

John Milton (1608-74)
On His Blindness
(John Milton)

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."

Commentary:  I believe that this is a poem of encouragement, saying to those who feel themselves useless because of some personal impediment, "God does have a job for you--in HIS time he will reveal it to you. Until then, trust Me and be patient" (Source).
Meaning: We all have a place in this world and we all perform a function, regardless of our ability or disability (Source).

Today I was assisting with a network issue at Frank Pierce Recreation Center.  Roger, the city’s expert in networking, was on site configuring a new router and switch.  It was my role to assist him in whatever way he needed.  Configuring routers and switches can be a time consuming process.  There are literally thousands of lines of code to get right.  So while Roger was doing the programming, I was standing by.  At the conclusion of the job when throughput was successfully raised from 1 to 5 megs, I remarked to Roger attributing Milton: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”  Actually I was only half-way kidding.  There was a sense in which I felt useful even while standing by and assisting only intermittently.  My role today is pretty much a metaphor for my entire life.  It seems I have served my Maker only intermittently.  Yet, for most of that time, I have felt the presence of purpose even during dry spells when patience was wearing thin.  I thank God for this sustaining state of mind that gives a sense of purpose even at times when evidence for one’s significance can seem lacking.  In a way, such assurance is contrary to all immediate evidence especially during lapses in direct engagement.  In such times it is good to remember that God’s understanding is greater than our own, that his timing is not our timing, that desperation and the agony over felt meaninglessness reveals the state of our faith as much as the state of reality, that patience is essential, and that God appreciates our faith especially during those times when feeling sorry for ourselves is most tempting.  The Great Redeemer is a specialist at redeeming time, but our trust is required to benefit from this assurance.   

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