Poem – Mercy Triumphs

Hey there! I’m writing this blog post from a 150 year old stone house in the rolling countryside of Pescara, Italy, where me and my family are just about to finish off our holiday. It’s been a grand few weeks travelling Europe – but alas, all good things must come to an end. I have 6 weeks left of my Senior year once I get home, and it’s going to be pretty much jumping straight into the deep end of crazy-busy-life upon our return. But let’s not think about that right now. The sun is shining, the pool is calling, and I have poetry to share! 😀

So the poem I’m sharing today is both a NaPoWriMo poem and a Biblical poem. Fun fact: I wrote it at about 12 a.m. in an apartment in Prague with siblings sleeping all around me. It’s funny how certain writing locations become burned in your memory. 😀 Anyways, it’s based on the woman whose story is found in John 8. Her story is such a beautifully broken one, and it really impacted me as I wrote this poem…  I hope it impacts you too. So without further ado, here it is – Mercy Triumphs. 

~

Nightmares of stones and screams chase me as I am dragged

Like a common criminal through the early morning streets.

 

I should’ve known better – in fact I did know better…

Hadn’t I been taught ever since I could remember

The role of a woman under the law?

Chaste and quiet and pure and holy before a God I feared,

A God that I could not know unless – unless what?

I don’t know how to know this God…

 

All I know is how to act and dress and be –

And this, I have defiled…

Defiled in a single maddened moment of desire for something more

Than these winding streets and empty days.

I should’ve known that my desire would be my downfall

But I was too far gone before I knew it and he – he was

Something more than I had ever known.

But the morning dawned and with it a shame I had never known before

 

And now I am being dragged through these winding streets

My heart pounding with fear –

I know what they do to women like me.

 

Somehow I am pulled into the temple courts,

The very dwelling place of this God that demands that I

Keep the law – His law that I have blatantly broken.

People stream around me and surround me until I feel

That I will suffocate under the weight of their stares that strip me

Down to my aching, empty soul.

Their whispers turn into a murmur that swells into shout

Of accusation and anger.

I am dragged on a wave of shame by these people

Who do not know me, nor care for anything

But their law that demands so much.

What do they see?

A common whore – a woman with no moral standing,

A failure in the eyes of the law, and thus the God

Under whose judgment I stand.

 

And then the roar of accusation grows silent

As in one swift motion I am thrown before a man.

My body barely covered, I cower,

Surrounded by my accusers, huddled in front of –

My judge?

The man who is to judge me in the eyes of God and His law?

I draw my shame like a blanket around me and sit silent

Waiting for the verdict to be pronounced,

Waiting for the stones.

 

Instead of the shouts of accusation that I expect

I hear a tersely spoken interchange between this crowd of my condemners

And the man that stands in front of them and me.

Slowly I begin to wonder, and then to realize that I

Am only a pawn, being used in a game of cat-and-mouse

Between these law-followers and this man.

 

“The law commands us to stone her,”

I can hear the disdain in their voices,

Feel the disgust in their glances as they gesture to me

“But what would you say?”

In the silence that follows I can feel the question like a knife in my back

Piercing me to the very quick –

So this man will be my judge.

But the volley of judgment that I expect never comes…

Instead he stoops and writes silently in the dust.

 

Looking up he catches my trembling glance

And in a second I am stripped of all shame –

Left a simply a woman, broken and wounded

In desperate need of grace.

In that moment I send up a silent prayer to the God

I long to know but do not know how to find.

Have mercy on me, a sinner….

 

The silence is broken by his voice

As he stands to face my accusers, his eyes flashing

“The one who has never sinned –

Let him be the first one to throw a stone at this woman.”

His words hang in the stunned silence,

I hardly dare to breathe.

Could this really be happening?

How can this man look at me – look at my blatant shame

And say that?

 

I hear the shuffling of feet

The nervous clearing of a throat.

And then –

Nothing.

Nothing but the swishing of robes and the

Ring of retreating footsteps in this judgement court.

I look at my judge and find instead

My Saviour.

Standing before me, he stoops and lifts me from the ground –

A gesture of grace so simple it takes my breath away.

“Where are those that condemn you?”

He asks, looking at me again – past my shame and sin

Deep into my desperate heart.

“Do they not condemn you?”

A quick shake of my head and he pronounces my verdict

“Then neither do I condemn you.”

 

No condemnation…

I stand in this temple court with God as my judge and find

That mercy triumphs over judgment.

This man is something more than I have ever known –

He has given me grace over law

And with it the glorious certainty that I can

Know God.

Perhaps He is closer than I ever could’ve dreamed…

~

So what do you think? Have you been impacted by any Biblical characters’ stories recently? I’d love to chat in the comments with you! 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Poem – Mercy Triumphs

  1. Hi Hannah

    I really connected with this poem and feel her conviction. You reflect her feeling and surprise so well all her anxiety in that moment washed away with a glance.

    You have a beautiful talent of writing what a gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Poignant, Hannah! And what a city to be inspired in (my father’s heritage). I can’t wait to see what you do with your talent in college. I was musing about Moses’ last day on earth. It occurred to me that someone would have been with him to record what God showed him on the mount before he died. Of course, that observer didn’t see Moses final resting place, but he did have a handle on his Master’s character enough to write the epitaph that would have been on his tombstone. I believe the recorder was Joshua. Who else accompanied Moses everywhere, even part way up to the mount to receive the 10 commandments? He was Moses’ understudy, much like Elisha was to Elijah. In fact, Elijah told Elisha he would not receive double his power unless he witnessed him being taken up by a chariot of fire. He did, and Elisha received a double dose! I love these connections! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

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