A Conversation with God: Lay Your Loved One on the Altar

by Micah J. Downs

In the bleak and cold dark winter
The Lord tested me, he came
To my bedside and he spoke to me
He called me by my name.

"Son I know for sure you love me
There is no doubt that is true.
But for my glory and for your own sake
I want something, now, from you.

I am calling you to give me
What you love more than your life
Lay your Loved One on the altar
I am asking for your wife."

"Lord, take my
Time, my Talents, Treasures,
Take me. I choose, now, not to live.
But don’t ask me for the one I love
Some things I cannot give.

For if I do then I might lose her
And that I simply cannot do
Who will calm her fears and dry her tears
If I give her up to you?”

“Is she better off in your hands?
Have you more control than I?
Do the winds and waves obey you?
Did you create the earth and sky?

Can you be her Heavenly Father?
Her Holy Spirit who is always there?
Can you be her Lord and Savior?
Can you hear and answer prayers?

Did you knit her in her mother’s womb?
Love her before all time began?
Did you die to free her from her sin?
And for her, then rise again?”

"Forgive me, Lord, I know you are God
But it would help if you'd just explain
Why the one I love is suffering.
Why is she wrought with so much pain?

I love her more than life itself
I'm afraid to let her go.
Tell me, What's your plan?
Let me understand.
There are some things I must know."

“Trust my sovereignty. Obey me.
Close your eyes and hold my hand
Lay your Loved One on the altar
Though you do not understand.

Lay your Loved One on the altar
I may bring her now to me
And you will live with her again someday
On golden streets eternally.

Or it might be that I’ll heal her
And display to all my power
But my will is not for you to know
Trust and obey me in this hour.

Lay your Loved One on the altar
I am your Father from Above
From everlasting to everlasting
All I do, I do in Love

I won’t promise you a perfect life
Your pain may never cease
But lay your Loved One on the altar
And you both will rest in Peace.”

“Give me strength, Lord, 
I am weak, so weak
But I will do all that you say
I’ll lay my Loved One on the altar
I will trust You, and obey.”


by Holly Burke

Writes Holly: Two years ago, I was inspired to write this poem in response to John Lennon's famous anthem. The main themes are Christ's redemptive work and our hope of eternal life through him.

Imagine there's a heaven,
A home for you and me
Where love, joy and peace abide,
And death and shadows flee.

Imagine there's a Savior
Who came to set us free,
He bore our sins and sorrows
On the cross at Calvary.

Imagine there's a Father
Who hears us when we pray,
He sees His own Son's glory
And not our feet of clay.

Imagine there's a Spirit
Who descends like a dove,
He convicts men of sin
And assures us with God's love.

Imagine all the people
Who live without the Lord,
They shun the call to repent
And trust His holy Word.

Imagine that He calls you
And whispers in your ear:
"Believe in me; do not doubt,
My love casts out all fear."

Thank the Lord this is all true:
It's better than a dream,
I hope someday you'll believe
And join the blessed theme.

Boric Acid for the Soul

by Lorraine Triggs

I attended Moody Bible Institute long before River North was even River North. Old Town still held its mix of seediness and charm and the only Crate & Barrel store in the country was on Wells Street. And a little farther north was subsidized senior housing.

The only reason I knew the housing existed was because it was my “practical Christian work assignment.” No sitting around in the classrooms for us Moody students. Get out there and serve. And so we did in public housing, city churches, at the infamous Cook County Hospital and the county jail (a male-only assignment).

One spring semester, my assignment was at the senior housing and it was there that I met Marie. She had signed up for help with chores and shopping trips. Marie was elderly, elegant and eager to see my partner and me each week. One afternoon, Marie wanted us to clean her cupboards. Simple enough task, right?

We opened the cabinets, took out a can or two of food and screamed. Cockroaches skittered out of the cupboard, fell onto the counter and scampered out of sight behind the floorboards.

“They don’t like the light,” Marie announced, “They will run from it.” She calmly handed us a tin of boric acid to sprinkle in the cupboards in order to kill the roaches.

I thought about those cockroaches the other day as I did my lesson for Women’s Bible Study. I’m sure it wasn’t the study’s intention to make me think of the cockroaches, but for me, it was a good metaphor for the passage we were studying—Ephesians 5:8-14.

One of the questions was “What are some unfruitful works of darkness (v. 11)? What do you think Paul means by telling us to ‘expose’ them?” And that’s when I thought of the cockroaches.

My sin has a lot in common with those cockroaches. They both prefer the darkness, they both run from the light and they both need a strong antidote to get rid of them. But what’s bad news for the cockroaches is good news for my soul.

I need the all-revealing light of God’s Word and a sprinkling of its boric acid-like truth to expose my sins. I need God’s truth—and his people—to block the floorboards and point me back to God’s grace and his forgiveness. I need to be reminded again to walk as a child of the light, and, oh, what joy that is.