Hast thou heard Him, seen Him, known Him?
Is not thine a captured heart?
Chief among ten thousand own Him,
joyful choose the better part.
Idols once they won thee, charmed thee,
lovely things of time and sense;
gilded thus does sin disarm thee,
honeyed lest thou turn thee thence.
What has stripped the seeming beauty
from the idols of the earth?
Not a sense of right or duty,
but the sight of peerless worth.
Not the crushing of those idols,
with its bitter void and smart;
but the beaming of His beauty,
the unveiling of His heart.
Who extinguishes their taper
till they hail the rising sun?
Who discards the garb of winter
till the summer has begun?
‘Tis the look that melted Peter,
’tis the face that Stephen saw,
’tis the heart that wept with Mary,
can alone from idols draw:
Draw and win and fill completely,
till the cup o’erflow the brim;
what have we to do with idols
who have companied with Him?
(Ora Rowan, 1834-1879)
This is one of my favorite poems — read and reread until its truth soaks into your soul. Yes, the taper (candle) glows with warmth and beauty, but we discard our candle when the sun rises. He, the true light of the world, has risen, and Jesus is more beautiful than any idol you seek to fill your hungry soul.
His look of forgiveness melted Peter’s pained and guilt-ridden heart; His face strengthened and confirmed Stephen during his stoning; His heart wept with Mary at her pain over Lazarus’s death.
The beaming of His beauty — the sight of His peerless worth — will alone free you from the idols of this earth. Idols do charm, but joyful choose the better part.
Oh, dear friends, seek Him alone!
For a beautiful rendition of Ora Rowen’s original piece, click here.