O it is hard to work for God,
To rise and take His part
Upon this battlefield of earth,
And not sometimes lose heart!
He hides Himself so wondrously,
As though there were no God;
He is least seen when all the powers
Of ill are most abroad;
Or He deserts us at the hour
The fight is all but lost;
And seems to leave us to ourselves
Just when we need Him most.
O there is less to try our faith
In our mysterious creed,
Than in the godless look of earth
In these our hours of need.
Ill masters good; good seems to change
To ill with greatest ease;
And, worst of all, the good with good
Is at cross purposes.
The Church, the sacraments, the faith
Their uphill journey take,
Lose here what there they gain, and, if
We lean upon them, break.
It is not so, but so it looks;
And we lose courage then;
And doubts will come if God hath kept
His promises to men.
Ah! God is other than we think,
His ways are far above,
Far beyond reason’s height, and reached
Only by childlike love.
The look, the fashion of God’s ways
Love’s lifelong study are;
She can be bold, and guess, and act,
When reason would not dare.
She has a prudence of her own;
Her step is firm and free;
There is cautious science too
In her simplicity.
Workman of God! O lose not heart,
But learn what God is like,
And in the darkest battlefield
Thou shalt know where to strike.
O blest is he to whom is given
The instinct that can tell
That God is on the field, when He
Is the most invisible!
And blest is he who can divine
Where real right doth lie,
And dares to take the side that seems
Wrong to man’s blindfold eye!
O learn to scorn the praise of men!
And learn to lose with God!
For Jesus won the world through shame,
And beckons thee His road.
God’s glory is a wondrous thing,
Most strange in all its ways,
And, of all things on earth, least like
What men agree to praise.
As He can endless glory weave
From time’s misjudging shame,
In His own world He is content
To play a losing game.
Muse on His justice, downcast soul!
Muse and take better heart;
Back with thine angel to the field,
Good luck shall crown thy part!
God’s justice is a bed where we
Our anxious hearts may lay,
And, weary with ourselves, may sleep
Our discontent away
For right is right, since God is God,
And right the day must win;
To doubt would be disloyalty,
To falter were to sin!