Lord Take Away Pain

The cry of man’s anguish went up to God,
‘Lord, take away pain!’
The shadow that darkens the world you have made,
The close-coiling chain
That strangles the heart, the burden that weighs
On the wings that would soar.
‘Lord take away pain from the world you have made
That it may love you more!’

Then answered the Lord to the cry of his world:
Shall I take away pain,
And with it the power of the soul to endure,
Made strong by strain?
Shall I take away pity that knits heart to heart,
And sacrifice high?
Will you lose all your heroes that lift from the fire
White brows to the sky?
Shall I take away love that redeems with a price,
And smiles at the loss?
Can you spare from your lives that would climb into mine
The Christ on the Cross?

– – – poem quoted in the book ‘Take my hands’ by Dorothy Clarke Wilson