A gourd sprang up to shelter me,
And shade me in my grief.
I thought it would forever be,
A source of sweet relief.
But after only one glad day,
Which might my dreams confirm,
I learned it wouldn’t be that way,
For God prepared a worm.
The worm attacked my precious shade,
And smote it that it died.
The sun now beats upon my head,
And I am sorely tried.
Like Jonah I am very faint,
And wish myself to die,
But unlike him, make no complaint,
Though unto God I cry.
I don’t deserve to have my way,
Nor in the shade to sit.
The God who gave may take away,
And I can but submit.
I can’t be angry, yet I plead;
I dare to ask my Lord,
Unworthy though I am indeed,
Please give me back the gourd!
I asked You for the gourd again,
It was my only thought.
I felt its loss and cried in pain
For shade that it had brought.
But when You took the gourd away,
You never gave it back.
Despite my pleas, You said me nay —
And let me feel my lack.
I don’t know why my hopes were raised,
Then dropped and dashed apart;
Why I was left confused, half-crazed,
And with a yearning heart.
But You have higher things in view,
And know what’s best for me.
Without the gourd I can make do —
But give me now a tree!
Oh, Lord, if You would shelter me
With some sweet second cause —
A short-lived gourd or towering tree
Beneath which I may pause;
If you provide a resting place
Where I may take a break,
Escape a while and slow my pace,
And calm the breaths I take;
If I enjoy a short reprieve
And revel in the shade,
Will all my strength for battle leave
And idleness invade?
Will I expect to always rest
And never leave the site?
Once of a little ease possessed,
Will I refuse to fight?
Lord, help me proper use to make
Of comforts that You send.
The benefits thereof to take,
But not on them depend;
And not allow the gifts to block
The Giver from my view,
But worthy of the Lord to walk
In fellowship with You.