Joe Bayly Still Speaks to Me

When I was a young Christian, one of my favorite writers was Joseph Bayly, who then wrote a wonderful column for Eternity Magazine, called “Out of My Mind.” When I was in Bible college, and when Nanci and I were young marrieds, and Eternity arrived in the mail, I always immediately turned to Joe’s column.

Joseph Bayly and his wife lost three of their children. One at eighteen days, after surgery. Another at five years, from leukemia, and a third at eighteen years (a sledding accident coupled with hemophilia). Joe spoke honestly, and from his heart. He grieved for his children, and he stood strong for his Lord.

Psalms of My LifeIn 1986 Joe joined the three of his children who were already home with the Lord. Eternity Magazine printed its last issue in 1988. Joe was the author of some great books with interesting titles, including The Gospel Blimp (an intriguing book that was made into a movie), I Saw Gooley Fly, A View From a Hearse, and Winter Flight. In 1969, the year I came to Christ, Joe also wrote a little book called Psalms of My Life. It contained a poem that I typed up in the seventies, and placed on the wall by my desk at our first apartment.

Later Nanci and I put it in a book we wrote together, called Women Under Stress (now thoroughly revised and updated as Help For Women Under Stress). Not long ago I bumped into that poem again. Regardless of what burdens and concerns and responsibilities you’re facing, I hope this encourages you as it still does me, after all these years. It’s entitled “A Psalm While Packing Books.” (I also put in the manuscript of my upcoming book If God is Good...)

This cardboard box

Lord

see it says

Bursting limit

100 lbs. Per square inch.

The box maker knew

how much strain

the box would take

what weight

would crush it.

You are wiser

than the box maker

maker of my spirit

my mind

my body.

Does the box know

when pressure increases close to

the limit?

No

It knows nothing.

But I know

when my breaking point

Is near.

And so I pray

Maker of my soul

Determiner of the pressure

within

upon

me

Stop it

lest I be broken

Or else

change the pressure rating

of this fragile container

of your grace

so that I may bear more.


Thanks, Joe. And thanks for your investment in my life. I look forward to meeting you face to face. And meeting Mary Lou and all your children.

And thanks, Lord, for Joe Bayly and countless others I've not yet met, from centuries and places way beyond my reach, who you've sovereignly used to touch me and draw me to you. I long for the day when I will sit by them at tables at feasts on the New Earth, where we will forever celebrate your greatness, and your marvelous works on our behalf.

Randy Alcorn, founder of EPM

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over fifty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries