“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…”
I believe it was at the end of 1968 that the famous singer Frank Sinatra first recorded what was to become one of his greatest hits, “I did it my way”. Some of us can still recall his voice and some of the lyrics of that song.
The final two lines of this song are:
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!
Apparently the singer was seeking to have the listeners understand he never bowed the knee and uttered what others said he should. He only said what he wanted to say.
The song expresses only what the poet Henley said in his poem Invictus in 1875. He suffered much in life including the loss of his 5 year old daughter, Margaret. Yet, he did not succumb to the circumstances against him. Rather, as he says in his poem Invictus, “My head is bloody, but unbowed.”
There are many people whose stamina in the face of adversity amazes us. We look on in wonder and try to imagine if we could sustain such torment. Only when called on shall many know if they can endure what some seem to go through.
Henley has a note of triumph at the end of his famous poem that goes like this:
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Henley was a remarkably brave person but he lacked the notion that there was a God to pursue in our times of trouble. He does not seem to have had much time for the idea of God. Perhaps he was like many people who are overwhelmed by sorrow and give up on the notion of God altogether.
We do not need to “screw up our courage” and try to believe we will manage somehow on our own. God has given us much to indicate He is very concerned about our suffering in life and has done something to correct the problem of pain and sorrow.
I have said here before that if you wish to see Jesus as One who is greatly interested in the poor, sick, criminals, the unknown and unsung of society, look to Luke’s Gospel in the New Testament. There you will discover Jesus noticing those whom others do not. He went to the homes of evil people to turn them into the way of truth.
We do not have the need to “Do it our way” or feel that we must take on whatever gods there may be. The God Who made us is very interested in connecting with us in our sorrow and so He sent Jesus to be the go between. Jesus will reach out to the most unknown of society, the one who suffers most and He desires our company. Will you come? Or will you stay where the songwriter and poet were in their day?