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The answer is no.

A poem

Published on:
September 23, 2019
Read time:
2 min.
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I am a child
throwing a tantrum.
I am stubborn.
I am fighting
with every ounce of my being.
I am tired.
When you ask me
if I trust you,
the answer
is no.

How dare you
ask me to trust
in things unseen.
I am not strong enough
to believe.
How can you
ask me:

to walk on water
to part the sea
to watch bread multiply
to fall to my knees
to run the race with endurance
to rise each morning
to trust you with my friends’ lives
to trust you with my own life
to surrender, to submit
again and again.

To let you break me
to feel you take from me
to watch you tear me
to shreds:

I am Daniel in the lion’s den,
I know how this should end.

I am Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego,
the flames are licking at my very skin.

I am David against Goliath,
just five stones, against a giant.

I am Sarah in her old age,
asking how life can begin.

I am Abraham, knife raised,
asking how provision will be made.

I am Lazarus in his grave,
a dead man walking.

I am everything that is impossible with man,
but made possible with God.

I am unsure how
to fix my eyes

on things unseen
but I can almost see the glory.

I know that many have walked
before me.

I know that Thomas’s doubt
was not in vain

that Peter’s apostasy
was not the last word

that Jacob’s deception
didn’t discount his wrestling

and Rahab’s shame
is not her legacy

No:

I serve the highest king.
The name above all names.
The beginning and the end.
The bread of life
who satisfies

I do not serve my flesh,
my stubborn doubt
that clings so closely
I serve a king

who humbled himself
who took on shame
enduring agony
for me.

Undeserving as I am,
as sinful and doubt-filled
as all who walk before me,
and yet

their sin
is not their legacy
for they too
served a king

and their faith, their trust
in the midst of doubt
was counted to them
as righteousness:

so I will choose
to believe
in what I cannot
yet see.

For as Peter declares:
“Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.”

Child as I am,
I am a child of God.
My “no” is not the last word,
for his grace goes before me

and gives me the faith,
the strength, and the power
to believe in what
I cannot see.

Emily Livingston
Emily Livingston was born and raised in Texas, although a piece of her heart will always belong in the Pacific Northwest, where she earned a degree in intercultural studies. She is a barista at a local coffee shop and has the joy of helping facilitate poetry nights there, aiming to help everyone feel welcome. Her fascination with the intersection of faith and culture lead her to write with inspiration from her travels, friendships, and the power that empathy has in drawing us all closer together.

Cover photo by KEEM IBARRA.

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