Wednesday, May 9, 2012


This poem was written by a missionary, Arthur Mathews, the last China Inland Missionary to be released from China after the Communist takeover in the early 1950s.  He, his wife and very young daughter were in Mongolia, under increasingly difficult times, including cold, illness, hunger, isolation, and treachery.  Eventually, his daughter and wife were freed, but he still was forced to stay behind for a number of months, during which time his life was frequently in jeopardy.

When first reading this poem, about 30 years ago, it struck a chord in my heart.  It continues to do so.  If I had been born on time, and not 5 weeks early, I would have arrived just about V-J day.   I’ve always had an awareness of the fragility of our existence as a society and a nation.

For a number of years as a child, I lived in fear of attack -- like many other Cold War kids -- but I think mine was heightened by my sense of responsibility to protect my sisters in Tacoma, a city near an Air Force base and Army base.  When Sputnik went up in October, 1957, I was 12 years old and, while standing in our front yard and watching it pass over, I vowed to myself that I would move to the center of the country when I grew up so I would be so far away that “they” [coastal invaders] couldn’t get me.
Many years later, in 1976, in Omaha, Nebraska, the center of our country (with no thought of that youthful vow), I was walking downtown during my lunch break, and the irony dawned on me: yes, I had grown up, and yes, I had moved to the center of the nation, but I had moved right next to Strategic Air Command at Offutt AFB, one of the most seriously operated bases in our nation/world.  While standing on a corner, waiting for a light to change, this hit me, suddenly.  And I laughed out loud at God’s sense of humor.

In light of events that occur, causing hearts to feel heavy or  hopeless, I share this poem with family and friends.  My desire is that encouragement will flood them and be reminded that ultimately we are held in the hands of God -- and the only safe place is in the center of His will.

In the centre of the circle of the will of God I stand,
As I launch from sheltering harbour 
       to obey His last command.
What though waves o’erwhelm my vessel,
       and grim fears my faith assail,
Still I’ll stay upon His promise, for that cannot, 
      will not fail.

In the centre of the circle of the will of God I stand,
Where the warfare wages fiercest,
     ‘tis the place that He has planned.
Though dread foes may storm my castle, 
     and the battle seem but lost,
I will claim in Him the vict’ry, and hold on
    whate’er the cost.

In the centre of the circle of the will of God I stand,
There can be no second causes,
     all must come from His own hand.
When dark clouds obscure my vision, 
    and the way I may not see,
I will trust Him in the darkness, for I know
    He pilots me.

In the centre of the circle of the will of God I stand,
Though the circumstances round me 
    show small trace of His skilled Hand,
Yet in darkness as in daylight,
     in the gloom as sunshine fair,
I will trust Him for His presence, for I know 
    He’s always near!


Anonymous said...

I agree, of course....I've thought many times that we are safer in the middle of a battle or on a dangerous street corner, if we are called by God to be there, than we are in our comfortable living rooms outside the will of God. niki

Gayle said...

This is a good post for me to read tonight. I received a call earlier from my daughter crying. Her little newborn boy had his clavicle bone broken during the birth. He was hospitalized this last week with severe jaundice and that was why, he bled into his body and was unable to process it. Sigh... My fears are now running away with me especially as a nurse and seeing more of what goes WRONG with children than what is right. But in the center of Gods will is peace. And that is where I must stay.

GraceonMe said...

One of my all time favorite poems.

Someone sent it to us when we were carrying our dear Ashley, being in the center of His will, doing as He has instructed, safest place to be.

Thanks dear friend for sharing

Beth said...

There are very dark clouds gathered at my school. Thank you for this---I will hold it close to my heart.