Unsure, when what was bright turns dark
And life, it seems, has lost its way,
We question what we once believed
And fear that doubt has come to stay.
We sense the worm that gnaws within
Has withered willpower, weakened bones,
And wonder whether all that's left
Is stumbling blocks or stepping stones.
Where minds and bodies reel with pain
Which nervous smiles can never mask,
And hope is forced to face despair
And all the things it dared not ask:
Aware of weakness, guilt or shame,
The will gives out, the spirit groans,
And clutching at each straw we find
More stumbling blocks
than stepping stones.
Where family life has lost its bliss
And silences endorse mistrust,
Or anger boils and tempers flare
As love comes under threat from lust;
Where people cannot take the strain
Of worklessness and endless loans
What pattern will the future weave -
Just stumbling blocks?
no stepping stones?
Where hearts which once held love are bare
And faith, in shreds, compounds the mess:
Where hymns and prayers no longer speak
And former friends no longer bless;
And where the church where some belonged
No more their loyalty enthrones,
The plea is made 'If You are there
Turn stumbling blocks
to stepping stones.'
Ah God, you with the Maker's eye,
Can tell if all that's feared is real,
And see if life is more than what
We suffer, dread, despise and feel.
If some by faith no longer stand
Nor hear the truth your voice intones,
Stretch out your hand to help your folk
From stumbling block to stepping stones.
(A song from the Wild Goose of Iona)