This dusty road I long have trod:
A pilgrim on a quest for God,
A stranger seasoned by hard days
Spent trading broad for narrow ways
And finding them (though lean and lone)
A treasured secret each to own.
This treasure I have chanced upon
(Though on God’s quest no chance can dawn)
By night, when clouds about the moon
Were parted to reveal this boon—
By day, when, stumbling through a storm
Of woeful winds, Help’s shape took form.
I still recall the countless times
I trudged each step and sore repined
That my road was not better paved,
That God my sufferings had not waived,
That valleys green could not be found,
Just miles of fallow, fruitless ground.
I toiled first up, then down, more hills,
Still murmuring and disputing, till
A splash of color met my eye—
A spot so green amidst such dry!
A band of richly shaded palms
Swayed in a breeze so cool, so calm,
Inviting me to stop and rest
In this sweet place which God had blessed.
Breathless I neared, and almost fell
Into a clear, cold, tranquil well.
This source of welcome verdure found,
I dropped with thanks upon the ground
And dipped my hands down for a drink,
Crouched there upon the water’s brink.
O! Such a draught of sure, pure hope!
I, weak from scaling stormy slopes,
Felt strength surge through me with each drop,
And drank until I had to stop.
No longer loathed I Heaven’s path,
Nor wrung my hands at God in wrath—
How could I, when His providence
Had planned my steps to travel hence?
‘Twas He who planted and prepared
That spring for when I’d wander there,
Beset by darkness, hunger, thirst,
Believing God’s way much the worst,
And ready to abandon hope
That life was worth the fight to cope.
That lush oasis lent me power
To serve and strive another hour,
To go rejoicing on my way,
To love my Lord more from that day,
To bless Him for His gracious gift—
That for fresh faith I need not shift,
Since, down the road, plodding through pain,
Or battling bitterness again,
Or stranded in a desert’s heat
With bloodshot eyes and failing feet,
I know my Master will prove true—
He’ll show me an oasis new
Or grant me strength to reach that spring
Where first He taught my faith to sing.