Because thou hast the power and own’st the grace
To look through and behind this mask of me
(Against which years have beat thus blanchingly
With their rains), and behold my soul’s true face,
The dim and weary witness of life’s race,—
Because thou hast the faith and love to see,
Through that same soul’s distracting lethargy,
The patient angel waiting for a place
In the new Heavens,–because nor sin nor woe,
Nor God’s infliction, nor death’s neighbourhood,
Nor all which others viewing, turn to go,
Nor all which makes me tired of all, self-viewed,–
Nothing repels thee,…Dearest, teach me so
To pour out gratitude, as thou dost, good!
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
What I love about Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poems, and her Sonnets from the Portuguese in particular, is that they mirror so poignantly the relationship between us and our Lord Jesus Christ. This poem from the beloved to her lover could just as soon be a prayer from the saved to her Savior, and that’s how I read it.
Because Jesus loves me just like that—“nothing repels thee.” I couldn’t count how many times I have viewed myself with the utmost self-loathing and wondered how anyone, much less a holy and perfect God, could attribute any worth to my wretched self.
I can only be thankful that my Lord looks “through and behind this mask of me” and beholds “my soul’s true face” and yet pours out His love unmeasured, to someone who is the very opposite of anything God should cherish. O Lord, teach me so to pour out gratitude, as thou dost, good!
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”