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Do Not Spare

August 10, 2023

Matthew Cyr

“Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;

Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes.” Isaiah 54.2 (NKJV)

The hammer rises and falls

driving sharpened acacia into earth.

Sweat-fall speckles the dust.

“Strengthen your stakes”

“Lengthen the lashings”

“Expand your dwellings”

He grits his teeth, will not grumble aloud

Yet the words run hot in his mind.

A final blow; it is deep enough,

another peg driven home.

He stands and stretches aching back

Gazing down the picket-row.

Sturdier stakes for heavier poles

And greater expanse of cloth.

Anchors increased to bear the weight of promise.

He hefts a new spike and bends to the task

Blow after blow into hard-baked ground.

Alone he labors, no sons to assist.

The enlarged tent will be laughably empty

Until arrival of children assured from on high.

Children he tells himself he believes in,

As he goes on staking out a space

Big enough to encompass blessing.

He shies short of asking

What it is his heart wants –

Increase without effort?

Abundance without sacrifice?

Pegs that sink into soil

As easy as nails into flesh?

Stakes driven by a loving Father

Who spares not His son,

Anchoring a dwelling wide enough

For children uncountable as stars?

The featured image, “Lake District Stone Wall,” is courtesy of Lancia E. Smith and used with her glad permission for Cultivating.


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  1. Darlene says:

    As usual Matt, your writings give me food for thought. I’m so glad you have picked up the quill again. Looking forward to more of your creations in the future.

  2. This is pierces the heart of staking itself as a practice and path, Matthew. It takes such courage to pound in stakes to hold our dwelling places stable in the face of growth not here yet or coming storms not even on the horizon? You speak right to the ache of faith and the bones of obedience. Reading this gives me hope and courage both, just as they are so often twined together. Thank you, friend. How I love the way you keep company with words.

  3. Amy says:

    Matthew, I feel your own wrestling in this piece, something I deeply respect and value. Your turn at the end feels honest, not like a punch line, which is hard to do. Bravo. Keep writing.

  4. Emily says:

    This really grabbed hold of my imagination and drew me in to every line. I’m grateful you shared it and that it’s here to come back to.

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