In the Spotlight

John EvansJohn Evans
This is the final article for "In The Spotlight" We appreciate John Evans' labor of love over the last six years. He has been dedicated to Christian poetry and its expression. Month after month he has brought to our attention many special poems and the poets that authored them. We appreciate John and wish him well in all his future endeavors. Please continue to use his column as a great resource for your personal growth and pleasure.


Rummage To Righteousness

God rummaged through the rubble of past hurts and debris,
Way underneath abuse and strife is where He first found me.

He sorted through confusion from adolescent pain,
Compassion cleaned up tarnish and wiped away the stains.

Love healed those childhood memories that tore my mind apart,
From junkyards of rejection, the Lord retrieved my heart.

His grace was glue that mended the rip from years of sin.
His presence was the polish that made me glow within.

Those empty lonely feelings He replenished and refined,
He finished off emotions with hope that brightly shines.

I asked Him why He chose me, this mashed and mangled mess.
I had to know the reason God shared His righteousness.

He said, "I choose the foolish, those battered and despised
To show mankind My nature is merciful and wise.

I demonstrate My power through fragile, frail, and weak,
And through your transformation A message I will speak.

They’ll look at your redemption and see My grace goes deep
And high enough to lift a life up from sin’s garbage heap"

His answer filled my spirit! I understood His plan,
He changed me to His image to show His Love to man.

John Evans

A Houston, Texas lassie with her poetry has captured my attention this month for my In the spotlight article. She has given us several poems from her poetic imagination, an imagination bountifully blessed by God her Creator and Giver of All Good. I speak of course of Juanita DeHart of that big city, whose poetic gems have been prolific of late; our Most Recent Poems category in the poets' library would attest to that. I have especially liked "Saint I Ain't," "Contagious Camaraderie," and "Rummage to Righteousness," all products of this fertile Christian mind.

"Saint I Ain't," like its too-the-point title, is brief, being just fourteen lines in length. Notwithstanding its brevity this poem magnifies the message that God loves us, and continues to do so in spite of our unworthiness. My son, Dr. Jonathan Duane Evans of the University of Georgia English department, speaks of the value of brevity as a real boon to the redemption of one's literary effort. He cites a poetess by the name of Jane Kenyon, a Methodist whom he heard in a taped interview on TV (she passed away in 1995, I understand), who in speaking of her renewed faith in Christ and resulting poetic works, played up the blessing of "the luminous small detail." And so I'd say the poem "Saint I Ain't" is "luminous" certainly with its message in "small detail" of Christ's never-failing love. Simon Peter may prove a weakling, a faithless braggadocio, but Jesus' love doesn't forsake him to satan, praise God! He prayed for him, as He does for us (Hebrews 7:25)--and can't we all in gratitude say a hearty "Amen!" to that!

(One concluding thought on brevity: I guess the poem by an anonymous poet titled "Ode on the Existence of Fleas from Earliest Times," has to be the last word on the subject of being brief; it reads, "Adam Had 'Em." Three words in its context, one of them shortened too,as compared to nine in its title!)

But getting away from the frivolous to our poet, Juanita Dehart of Houston, Texas again: "Rummage to Righteousness" by her is another excellent specimen of poetry on the grace of our God manifested toward us his unworthy children. This poem pictures God, in the attic as it were, rummaging through rejected things--"rubble" and "debris" she names them--to reclaim these as His own for blessing and usefulness. This iambic-in-stress poem is made up of ten couplets, all artistically arranged; and I particularly note to my liking the use of alliteration here. Couplet one has rummaged and rubble; couplet two has confusion, compassion, and cleaned; couplet three, junkyards and rejection; couplet four, grace and glue and also presence and polish; couplet five, replenished and refined; couplet six, mashed and mangled mess" (isn't that great?); couplet seven, my and merciful; couplet eight, fragile and frail; couplet nine, grace and goes and lift and life; and ten has His, His, He, His and His again. Our Houston friend surely stands out in her talent for using alliteration, I think we'd all have to conclude! Good going, thou gifted gal from south!

This my January 2002 article is being finalized in the wee hours of December 26, 2001, and I hope my readers all had as good a Christmas as did yours truly.

But to refocus once more on Poetess DeHart and her successful efforts to glorify her Lord in poetry, I'd like to look briefly at her "Contagious Camaraderie" (see the alliteration again?). This is obviously a Christmas poem, a present for us all (Thanks, Juanita!), and it explores the magic of this wonderfully-best holiday for us here on the brink of another year. It too is iambic in its rhythm and contains seven quatrains following the ABCB rhyme scheme. Our dear one truly points up in magnificent fashion the fact that Jesus is "the reason for the season" here. And isn't it a lamentable fact that so many people don't know--or, worse, choose to ignore--the blessing that Christ has brought and continues to bring to our nation? And may I say also that we Christians are designated "the salt of the earth" by our Lord; and that we should as such lead the way back to the God of all our nation's blessings, as does Poetess Juanita in this poem. I like the last quatrain especially:

"At Christmas time our acts reflect

The best thing ever done;

We give deep from our Spirits

Just as God gave Christ His Son."

And then it's most appropriate that this blest poet finishes the poem with the verse, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."--the heart of the Gospel and the Bible. It is hopeful and a matter of prayer, I'm sure, that this and all our sister's poetry will lead someone to the Savior, as I know all the talented people who read these lines wish and pray concerning their poetic efforts.

A final God bless you all for a most blessed New Year!

Yours for Him,

John Evans,,
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

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