One night, I decided to put down my phone and read a book. I was glad I did, because the book I picked was a beautiful, vintage Longfellow collection that was passed down to us. Longfellow wasn’t a poet that was familiar to me, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Longfellow had Christian themes throughout his work. I was not expecting to be ministered to that night. One stunning poem moved and convicted me so deeply that I felt compelled to share.
Read the poem below and imagine the Slave, brow-beaten and exhausted, wide awake at such a late hour when surely his body ached for sleep. What was he doing? Was he a man living in dread and torment? Was he utterly destroyed by his circumstance? Was he turning over in his mind the horrors that could await him come daylight? No, he was casting all His cares upon the One who made him truly free. He was worshipping the Lord.
Let this be a lesson to all of us in any hardship that comes our way. The victory is Christ’s. He is El Roi, the God who sees me.
The Slave Singing at Midnight
Loud he sang the psalm of David!
He, a Negro and enslaved,
Sang of Israel’s victory,
Sang of Zion, bright and free.
In that hour, when night is calmest,
Sang he from the Hebrew Psalmist,
In a voice so sweet and clear
That I could not choose but hear,
Songs of triumph, and ascriptions,
Such as reached the swart Egyptians,
When upon the Red Sea coast
Perished Pharaoh and his host.
And the voice of his devotion
Filled my soul with strange emotion;
For its tones by turns were glad,
Sweetly solemn, wildly sad.
Paul and Silas, in their prison,
Sang of Christ, the Lord arisen.
And an earthquake’s arm of might
Broke their dungeon-gates at night.
But, alas! what holy angel
Brings the Slave this glad evangel?
And what earthquake’s arm of might
Breaks his dungeon-gates at night?