Poem: God Does Not Exist to Give You What You Want

by | Jan 29, 2020 | Blogs, Prayers, Spirituality

Bow your head to the God who made you.
Accept the commandments
Forged on Mt. Sinai.
Or, will you build a golden calf
To be everything you want?

Will you turn back to Egypt,
Where you were enslaved,
And where you had cucumbers, leeks, melons, and garlic? 1

Or, will you accept the desert
Even when you lose so much?

It is only your pride and fear
Which makes the desert sound

Memories of powers over you
That hurt and wounded you
In your vulnerability.

But everything
Is God’s will.
Even in brutality
in the worst sense.
God allowed it, for some reason.

Death and sickness?
How can I not demand Your response?
How can You tell me I must be grateful
For You,
The source of this dying life, suffering, pain?
“Why have You forsaken me?” 2

God does not exist to give you what you want.
God is simply God. That’s all.
God is free.

“Where were you,
When I laid the foundations of the earth?
…who laid its cornerstone
When the morning stars sang together
And all the heavenly beings
Shouted for joy?” 3

Let your own desires and needs go.
Not the little ones.
But the ones you call
Most good and loving,
The ones that make life worth living:
Healing of sickness,
Presence with loved ones,
Reprieve from suffering.

Desires and needs
That are worth dying for,
Giving everything for.
Open your hands and
Gently let them go.

And when you are before God,
Utterly defenseless,
Then you will see the love of God,
Beyond desires and needs.

A purifying fire that
Will not kill others.
Will not violently grasp
at what you think is due.
But will draw out
any remnant of that poison
That breeds violence;
That grasps at what you
Thought you deserved in this life.

Yes, you will first have to die
So you can live;
And it will be painful
As your old self burns away
Having once been attached to you
Interwoven through your nerves
Making this fire feel like death,
Or drowning.

Then you die, and the old self
Floats away down the Jordan.

And then freedom.
Up from the water
Thought now to be a corpse,
But instead a
Being so beautiful
That God says,
“This is my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” 4

This pleasing beloved beauty is freedom.
It has been hidden underneath eras of
Human effort, error and formation.

Now out of its cage,
Roaring like a lion
So loud,
Resonating through
Rigid walls,
Revealing gentle
Seeds of trees
That once grew
Where this now fallen wall
Once stood.

There is nothing else.
All those fears and resentments,
In the face of suffering,
Are like dust.

Deepest contrition
For imagining God to be cruel
Is instantly swallowed by mercy.

“O happy fault.” 5

And you see the “dearest, freshness, deep down things;” 6
And you find the gift of life is not destroyed by anything,
And you learn how it always wins in God’s love.

O joyful eternity.

Love. God’s love.
So bound to you it eludes definitions.
It is not merely what you want,
It is everything.


Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

  1. Numbers 11
  2. Psalm 22:1
  3. Job 38: 4, 6-7
  4. Matthew 3:17
  5. Exultet (from the Easter Liturgy)
  6. “God’s Grandeur,” Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

Chris Williams, SJ

cwilliamssj@thejesuitpost.org   /   All posts by Chris