I Was Once So Sure

I Was Once So Sure
(An Autobiographical Poem)

I was once so sure
So sure of myself
So sure that what I wanted
Was one in the same with what God wanted
How could it be otherwise?
Child of God that I am

I was once so sure
I was taught to assert my will
In the name of the LORD, to be sure
For the name of the LORD is a talisman
To endorse and empower my will be done
For what else could my god have to do
But to make all my wishes and dreams come true?

I was once so sure
That I knew what was good for me
And what was good for me
Was good things for me
Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.
Oh, I knew better than to say it just so
I knew to dress it up in altruistic robes
And how to crown it with chapter and verse
Nothing like a plucked verse to make you so sure
(Yet it and I weren’t all bad, oh no, far from it)

But the point of this confession is
I was once so sure
That I knew good and evil, right and wrong
In me, in thee, in theology, in policy
But there’s a snake that lives in that tree
Is original sin a sin of epistemology?
To be so sure
Certitude in doctrine and politics
And just where the dividing line runs
Safe in the certain knowledge
That I’m on the right side
Of the right-and-wrong line

I was once so sure
And it’s fun being so sure
People like it when you’re so sure
(If they share your certainty)
And isn’t that what faith is?
Being so sure?
I’m not so sure
Cock-sure, can’t-miss certainty
Is not the faith that I see
When I look at the patriarchs, prophets, and poets
And Jesus
(“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”)
At the cross faith and hope find their finest hour
But arrogant certitude is proved to be an impostor

Instead of brashness and bravado
The poet of hope said
“In quietness and trust”
Now when I’m not so sure
I try to be quiet and trust
Not myself, my mind, my kind
But in the mercy of God
In his severe salvation
A salvation that is sweet as honey
And severe as the cross
Though he slay me
Yet will I trust him
Goodness and Mercy