Overcome (Byr a Thoddaid)

Grabbed by the lapels, left breathless,
Wordless, slack-jawed, undone, helpless.
You’re confronted by a greater power
Whose grasp reaches and wends.

When breath, words, and closed mouth return
The frantic longing inside burns:
Not for escape or reprieve, not at all;
Beauty woos, wins with awe.


What is Byr a Thoddaid?



Yesterday’s campfire doused and drenched with a hose
As the atmosphere begins to wring like a sponge–
The hissing, billowing smoke yields to the water
And I turn to leave.

But today, the wrung sponge is replaced by a faucet
And yesterday’s ash is gray and black mud–
But a hissing plume of smoke still rises in defiance
Before the embers leave.



The electric needles jabbing, poking
My once-asleep, now groggy foot
Pierce no less deeply than the startled disorientation:
“Where am I?”
The rush of returning circulation
Electrocutes as it restores,
Pierces as it un-numbs,
And soon, I won’t have to hobble around.


Out of Nowhere


Psalm 14 famously begins, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There’s no God'” (14:1 CSB). Unfortunately, we are usually quick to assume the Psalm is speaking of militant atheists and miss the powerful effect of the David’s masterful writing.

As it turns out, David doesn’t let us sing about those atheist fools over there. No one escapes getting branded a fool. In fact, he even plays up the drama by having God look down from heaven “to see if there is one who is wise, one who seeks God” (14:2 CSB). Where is the righteous man of Psalm 1? Does such a one exist on Planet Earth?


All have turned away;
all alike have become corrupt.
There is no one who does good,
not even one (14:3 CSB).

This is so stupid, David screams. “Will evildoers [which, by this point, he’s shown to be everybody] never understand?” (14:4 CSB). Wicked sinners are more interested in consuming people for their own cravings and desires, rather than trusting in the Triune God and calling on Him.

Thus far, the entire human race has been shown to be completely corrupt and unrighteous. Even God can’t find one single righteous person.

That’s why verse 5 comes out of nowhere:

Then they [i.e., the wicked] will be filled with dread,
for God is with those who are righteous (CSB).

Where have these righteous people come from? David just got through saying there aren’t any!

Out of the entirety of sinful humanity, those who take refuge in the LORD become righteous as His gift. They’re no better or more worthy than any of the oppressors and corrupt sinners––they’re just like them!

Taking refuge in the LORD is trusting in His promise of deliverance that comes from Zion: David’s own Son who will reign forever; the Suffering Servant who bears the sins of many, yet having no sin of His own; the Shepherd of the people who is struck in the place of His sheep.

When He comes, “let Jacob rejoice; let Israel be glad” (14:7 CSB) indeed!

Anything Good (Psalm 4:6-8)


Many are asking, “Who can show us anything good?”

Let the light of your face
Shine on us, LORD.
You have put more joy
In my heart, in my heart
Than they have when their grain
And new wine abound.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace
I will both lie down and sleep in peace
For you alone, LORD,
Make me live in safety.

Download/listen to audio here.