Thankful for George MacDonald

Our university just finished a week of alcohol, drugs, AIDS, green awareness with skits, plays, movies, shows and banners all over campus. Sin reigns and wrecks young lives wherever you go whether in the U.S., U.K. or Kazakhstan. Seems that George MacDonald knew about sin in his corner of the world over a hundred years ago and he had a gift in putting his fictional stories to paper. For that, I am thankful.

George Macdonald was a Scottish novelist, poet, clergyman, and author of children’s stories. He was born in 1824 at Huntly, in the western part of Aberdeenshire. He attended the country schools, and went to Aberdeen University in the 1840s, taking prizes in chemistry and natural philosophy. His writings were instrumental in C.S. Lewis life conversion and has a large following still almost hundred years after his death in 1905. George MacDonald published over fifty volumes of fiction, many of which have been thankfully modernized into everyday English by Michael Phillips.

My husband and I would read MacDonald books aloud to each other switching off at each new chapter, sometimes we discussed the intricate verse or ponderous prose. Books like “The Curate’s Awakening,” “The Shepherd’s Castle,” “Musician’s Quest,” “The Lady’s Confession,” “The Marquis’ Secret,” and “A Daughter’s Devotion.” We must have devoured about seven or eight of them our first several years of marriage. The following is a sampling of MacDonald’s poem which I believe fits my situation in Kazakhstan.

I said: “Let me walk in the field”;

God said: “Nay, walk in the town”

I said: “There are no flowers there”;

He said: “No flowers, but a crown.”

I said: “But the sky is black,
There is nothing but noise and din”;
But He wept as He sent me back,
”There is more,” He said, “there is sin.”

I said: “But the air is thick,
And fogs are veiling the sun”
He answered: “Yet souls are sick,
And souls in the dark undone.”

I said: “I shall miss the light,
And friends will miss me, they say”;

He answered me, “Choose tonight,
If I am to miss you, or they.”

I pleaded for time to be given;
He said: “Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem hard in Heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide.”

I cast one look at the fields,
Then set my face to the town;
He said: “My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for the crown?”

Then into His hand went mine,
And into my heart came He;
And I walk in a light Divine,
The path I had feared to see.

George MacDonald

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    What a beautiful poem… We often do want to take what we think will be the easier way, don’t we?

    I’ve never read MacDonald’s adult novels. Although I have devoured his children’s stories. Maybe it’s time to check out some of the ones you mentioned.

    Do you have a recommendation?

  2. 2

    Kazakhnomad said,

    Maria, glad you liked the poem, it needs to be read every now and then when questioning what we are doing. I would recommend “The Daughter’s Devotion” about a relationship between a father and daughter. Also, “the Curate’s Awakening” is good for discussion which is what Ken and I would do between chapters or after reading a good passage that was more “food for thought” than just a fictional account.

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