Father, I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me,
And the changes that are sure to come
I do not fear to see;
But I ask Thee for a present mind,
Intent on pleasing Thee.
Do you ever feel like your highest aspirations lost in the grinding everyday-ness of a commonplace life? Do you long to serve the Lord with a passionate heart, but know all your passion is evaporating in the uninspiring environment where you find yourself?
Three years ago, I came across the poem, “Father, I Know” by Anna L. Waring, and it is a piece that I have found powerful ever since.
On the days when life seems purposelessly mundane and routine, “Father, I Know” challenges us to open our eyes to the hidden grandeur of everyday things. This poem reminds us that it is not the one who DOES the most, but the one who LOVES the best, that draws nearest to the heart of God.
SAW Publishing’s FREE Monthly Downloads
As we have already mentioned in previous posts, during the calendar year of 2020 SAW Publishing is offering FREE monthly downloads showcasing good and great literature from the authors of past generations. The short stories in this series are for the most part geared towards child/family reading, while the poems are more on a level with high school scholars or general students of poetry.
In evaluating the poems offered in these downloads, we are using our good and great poetry grading worksheet. This tool was developed by SAW Publishing to facilitate simple, consistent, percentage-based grading of a wide range of poems and poetry assignments. A download of our grading of “Father, I Know” is available at the bottom of this post.
We are also following our standard literature model by highlighting a few good and great characteristics that stand out in this poem.
“Father, I Know” by Anna L. Waring is an inspiring poem because it challenges each of us to live wholly for the Lord, whatever our circumstances may be. In the midst of a gentle picture of the sweetness of the ideal Christian character, the author has managed to give us a hint of heroism as well. There is something ennobling in her picture of a devoted servant,
Content to fill a little space,
If Thou be glorified.
Miss Waring helps us to see the beauty of an everyday life lived for the love of God—a life beautiful in its humility, its contentment, and its self-sacrificing kindness to all around.
I think the thing I most enjoy about “Father, I Know” from a literary perspective is the way the author has put key thoughts into succinct and memorable phrases that I, as the reader, can take away with me. I love the power of such lines as
More careful not to serve Thee much,
But to please Thee perfectly.
as well as the concluding words of the poem:
. . . a life of self-renouncing love
Is a life of liberty.
Despite the fact that either of these quotations could be considered the highlight of the poem, the most widely-known phrase probably comes from verse two, where Miss Waring asks for
a heart at leisure from itself
to show God’s love to those around her and to sympathize with those who mourn as well as those who rejoice. In each of these cases, Miss Waring has not only given us a powerful idea—she has expressed it in equally powerful language.
“Father, I Know:” A FREE Download
“Father I Know” by Anna L. Waring is not necessarily a perfect poem. Its structural weaknesses are highlighted by the alterations that hymnal compilers have been forced to make before setting it to music. But at the end of the day, “Father, I Know” is still a powerful and compelling composition.
It is a poem that sets before us the opportunity we each have, no matter how mundane our daily life may feel—the opportunity to live every moment for the love of God.
May this poem challenge you to take that opportunity today!
If you are looking for more FREE poetry downloads from SAW Publishing, take a look at our February post:
- Hymn-Based High School Poetry Course
- How to Choose A Curriculum that will Change Your Child’s Life