On Streets of London

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Photo via Microsoft

What is the driving force behind the universe? Is it a mighty impersonal and irresistible force – what most call ‘The big bang’ ?

If this is all there is, it’s not much comfort as I watch the daily news programmes, and look out on a dying world full of troubles, disasters and offering us no hope beyond death. What lies behind it all? The answer, I believe, is a Heart of Divine Love. It controls everything else, and is the driving force behind the Universe.

This is sometimes hard to believe when we look around us, but when we look at Jesus, his character, his claims and his life, death and resurrection it all makes sense. He reveals the heart of God that has compassion, feels with and weeps over his world.

Jesus reveals to us a God with emotions and a heart of warmth, feeling, sympathy and perfect understanding, and with open ‘ears’ to hear my prayers and cries. He wants the very best for me. His deep desire is for my ‘well-being’ and he has already done wonders on the cross to be able to bring that blessing to me,

Photo of Big Ben
Photo via Microsoft

Here’s how this Divine Love came to one needy person on the streets of London:

Pursued By Love

Francis Thompson was born in Lancashire in 1859. After failing his final exams three times at medical school, in despair, he left home to run away to London. Already a drug addict he ended up sleeping rough in the streets around Covent Garden. In the day time he sold newspapers and matches to support himself.

  At an all time low, when he was contemplating suicide, he noticed one of his own poems published in a magazine edited by the poet Wilfred  Meynell. It became a turning point for Thompson and led to Meynell and his wife (both of whom were Christians) rescuing and restoring him to health in a Sussex monastery.

It was while here that Thompson wrote his best works of poetry, including the famous poem “The Hound of Heaven” which describes someone running away from pursuing footsteps. The poem was clearly a description of Thompson’s own experience, discovering that the ‘pursuing footsteps’ from which he was running away, were in fact those of a loving Heavenly Father running after His lost child.

I fled Him down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labrinthine ways
Of my own mind;  and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him……

from those strong feet that followed, followed after.
………But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat …….

 Francis Thompson’s poem  comes to its conclusion with the voice of the divine pursuer:

“Whom wilt thou have to love ignoble thee, Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take, Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand and come!”

The poem ends with the fugitive making a wonderful discovery:

“Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of his hand, outstretched,
caressingly?”

                                           From ‘The Hound of Heaven’

 

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