The following poem is by Eddie Askew, former General Secretary of The Leprosy Mission.
Lord, it’s easy to be discouraged
by all the pain and evil I see in the world.
Easy to grow hard and cynical. Paranoid.
Scanning each friendly word for hidden criticism.
Taking the outstretched hand and wondering
what the other hand holds.
Throwing away the message of love
while I look in the envelope for its letter bomb.
So easy, Lord.
But in the quiet with you
the thought comes.
If evil is so strong
and wrong so powerful,
why is there yet such goodness in the world?
There is one world, not two.
And the world that spins into darkness
is only half a turn from the light.
And in the dark itself there are lights.
Flickering candles of hesitant flame,
persistent rhythmic neons of colour,
bright floodlights of electric intensity.
A white shining of hope.
And somehow the darkness has no power to put it out.
The light shines on in the dark,
and the darkness has never quenched it.
Lord, thank you for that.
For every glimmer of light and goodness
that falls across my path.
For every rumour of righteousness,
each breath of kindness,
each incandescent glow of particular love in my world.
And as they coalesce,
spilling over into the dark chasms of life,
pools and lakes of shimmering light,
I can see the outline of your love.
Quiet. Persistent. Patient. Indomitable.
Evil may deny your presence, Lord,
but the light still shows me you are here.