There are those who absolutely detest poetry, while others enjoy the freedom of unstructured prose. Some of us, when dealing with trials in our lives, turn to journaling where we can cry out our inner thoughts on paper. The journal we use makes no difference — it can be a yellow legal pad, but most of us who journal find that it calms us and refurbishes our thought life. Poetry does the same things, because we don’t have to stop and think about what we want to write, we just write, and quite often we write about the disparities we find in our lives – those things that become other than what we intended. These variations may come to us in the form of a relationship that’s hard to manage, a racial or lifestyle conflict, and sometimes is might be about health concerns. In any case, they all take us to some form of otherness – where our visions for life turn into something else. Perhaps our life isn’t quite what we had imagined, or our expectations of those close to us were dashed by one single word or action.
However, the otherness that can changes us and provide us peace, comfort, love, and regeneration is through our love relationship with God.
Singer, Matt Redman, says, “Worship thrives on wonder. We can admire, appreciate and perhaps even adore someone without our having a sense of wonder. But we cannot worship without wonder. For worship to be worship, it must contain something of the otherness of God. I’ve come to love that word—‘otherness.’ It’s such a great worship word. Otherness gives us a sense that God is so pure, matchless, and unique that no one else and nothing else even comes close. He is altogether glorious—unequalled in splendor and unrivaled in power. He is beyond the grasp of human reason—far above the reach of even the loftiest scientific mind. He is inexhaustible, immeasurable and unfathomable—eternal, immortal and invisible. The highest mountain peaks and the deepest canyon depths are just tiny echoes of His proclaimed greatness. And the blazing stars above, the faintest emblems of the full measure of His glory.
Furthermore, “As biblical writers descended into their inner souls to reveal grief and rejection, their spirits thus reached crescendos of celebration over the Living God through their poetic phrases.”
My recently published collections of poems does just that. As I have journaled, written poetry, and reflected on life situations, there has always been pad and pencil on hand. The expressions of my despair, and, in the end, exultation show exactly how God can take the most troubled heart to freedom in every selection. In addition, I’ve included the songs and poems of Christina Bell Cantor, the protagonist in my unpublished manuscript of a twenty-first century Pilgrim’s Progress.
Traveling to the Holy City: A Collection of Poems About Two Spiritual Journeys is available on Amazon in printed form and eBook. Reasonably priced, the print version (only $6.99), it is a wonderful gift choice for family members and friends.
 Matt Redman, The Otherness of God, https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/septemberweb-only/theothernessofgod.html
 Excerpt from back cover of Traveling to the Holy City, Carol Flohr Giles