Monday, June 19, 2006

"I cast one look at the field, Then set my face to the town".

This is going to be one of those posts where friends send us private emails: “Are you doing OK? Really?” For the record, we are doing great. But Laurel and I both heard a sermon the other day which resonated.

We have loved NYC. There are lots of great things about being here. And at the same time, we have found it difficult living in the Gothom City. Laurel especially has to spend most of her day with 2 kids in a city without a car for escape. We cannot believe how much people spit on the sidewalk here. And the subway is not friendly to anyone who relies on wheels.

We were praying at a Prayer Breakfast for our Church last week, and the speaker recited the following poem by George MacDonald. It convicted us both.

As I quote this poem, I also think of my father, who is assisting with the running of a hospital in a part of Pakistan that must feel like the end of the earth.

NYC and Tank, Pakistan -- Two places where there are "no flowers" [or not many at least].

George MacDonald -- "What Christ Said":

I said, "Let me walk in the fields,
He said, "Nay, walk in the town;
I said, "There are no flowers there,
He said, "No flowers, but a crown."

I said, "But the sky is black,
There is nothing but noise and din.
But He wept as He sent me back;
There is more," He said, "there is sin."

I said, "But the air is thick,
And fogs are veiling the sun.
He answered, "Yet hearts are sick,
And souls in the dark undone."

I said, "I shall miss the light,
And friends will miss me, they say.
He answered me, "Choose tonight
If I am to miss you, or they."

I pleaded for time to be given;
He said, "Is it hard to decide
It will not seem hard in heaven
To have followed the steps of your guide."

I cast one look at the field,
Then set my face to the town;
He said, "My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for the crown?"

Then into His hand went mine,
And into my heart came He,
And I walk in a light divine
The path I had feared to see!

Love, Justin.


Goldy said...

Good stuff brother.

It reminded me just a little of a favourite quote of mine.
"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to loose sight of the shore for a very long time."
--- Andre Gide

Take heart that no matter how rough the journey, we have true hope in our destination!

Craig Tubman said...

in response to your comment.

it was no joke.

i'm growing, as by the sounds of it you are to!
in Him

brother craig

Justin said...

Goldy -- Tidy

Brother Craig -- your story is incredible -- as are you!

[For those who would like to understand craig's comment, Click Here

Anonymous said...

come to switzerland (have not read poem yet).

mandy said...

Thanks heaps for sharing that poem...after reading it I printed it out and it is now stuck on my wall.

It can certainly challenge us all as we seek to please him in whatever location and situation we have been lovingly placed in.

Interestingly, this poem mildly relates to what I have been thinking about recently. A missionary whose wife and 2 children were killed in a bus crash in Thailand in 1978 said "God does not have to justify to me, or give his reasons for, what he has permitted." I think that when we surrender our lives to Christ we give up all rights to controlling our situations. There couldn't be anything better!!

Jim said...

Powerful and inspirational.

Your work in the Lord is worth it.


Scott said...


Philemon 7


chelsea said...

definately a powerful poem. Thanks for sharing it justin!
Have you read (or heard of) Roaring Lambs? I'm reading it at the moment and the chapter i read this afternoon reminded me of this post - he spoke of the two sides to Dallas - on one hand its a hub for Chrisitan community in so many ways, yet at the same time home to so many terrible parts of life - Briner (the author) therefore spoke of the need for those Christians there to be salt in that city. In no way would it or could it be easy, but it is essential.
It reminded me of you and laurel in NY.
(if this doesnt make much sense and you want to read some of the cahpter, let me know and ill email you that bit :) )

seapea said...

as much as you find it a bit difficult in this BIG BAD APPLE, we're blessed to have you & your family @ CCNYC.

Priscilla said...


It sounds like the Lord has you there for a reason. He'll give you what you need to be on this leg of the journey of your life.

It is a very difficult city to be in...much less live in. I found it challenging to visit there last August. Not far a quiet part of the state...the culture is much different. Take a 6 hour trip by car to the Finger Lakes Region for a little bit of R&R.

Giraffe Pen (기린 만년필) said...

Justin, it's good to see you blogging. I hope all is well in the US of A!


Giraffe Pen (기린 만년필) said...

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Anonymous said...

Hey Moff-machine,

All I'm going to say is: I know how you feel.

[I'm really going ok too. It just reminds me of thoughts i often have.]


Justin said...

Bean -- Yes. We have gone to an apartment like your flat!

Anonymous said...

ok. so i read the poem. And 'come to Switzerland' probably was not the most suitable comment. but sometimes its Ok not to be suitable. THe thing i like most about Justin: Your Joy in the Journey! .... and this post aside, come to Switzerland! R

Anonymous 2 said...

(Apologies for the side comment)

Hi Anonymous! So where abouts are you in Switzerland (if you in fact are in here)?

Justin said...

Do I have a Swiss reader?

A real one?

Rhea -- We'd like to go, but it is not to be! :(

Anonymous 2 said...

Yes we do! Well a reader who's in Switzerland. Is that the same thing? Don't ask me how I came to be reading your blog because I've never met you in my life! In short, I came through via the Sydney grapevine. but, if there's truely some else in here who's in Switzerland, please feel free to drop me a line.

Anonymous 2

Justin said...

Welcome Gentle Swiss Reader!

Are you Swiss? Or Australian? I think you came to me via MPJ, right?

Email me your details: jmoff at hotmail dot com and I shall pass them on to our Swiss Visitor. [They are not there yet].

Anonymous 2 said...

Thanks for the welcome! Yep, either through MPJ or RB, I can't remember which one. I went through Sunday school with those guys, MPJ probably wouldn't remember me though. OK, I'll send you my details. Is it A&AK who you know who coming to switzerland? I've been in contact with them already.

Anonymous 2

Priscilla said...

The Finger Lakes are a lot closerr and you can come just for a quick weekend getaway!