The Devil May Wall You Round (Poem by Annie Johnson Flint)

The Devil May Wall You Round

by Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932)

Annie Flint suffered from crippling arthritis most of her life. However, confined to a sickbed, she experienced the presence of the Lord in a way that brought forth sweet insights which she put down in poetry. One of her best poems is “The devil may wall you round”:

The devil may wall you round
But he cannot roof you in;
He may fetter your feet and tie your hands
And strive to hamper your soul with bands
As his way has always been;
But he cannot hide the face of God,
And the Lord shall be your light,
And your eyes and your thoughts can rise to the sky,
Where His clouds and His winds and His birds go by,
And His stars shine out at night.

The devil may wall you round;
He may rob you of all things dear,
He may bring his hardest and roughest stone
And think to cage you and keep you alone,
But he may not press too near;
For the Lord has planted a hedge inside,
And has made it strong and tall,
A hedge of living and growing green;
And ever it mounts and keeps between
The trusting soul and the devil’s wall.

The devil may wall you round,
But the Lord’s hand covers you –
And His hedge is a thick and thorny hedge,
And the devil can find no entering wedge
Nor get his fingers through;
He may circle about you all day long,
But he cannot work as he would,
For the will of the Lord restrains his hand,
And he cannot pass the Lord’s command,
And his evil turns to good.

The devil may wall you round
With his grey stones, row on row;
But the green of the hedge is fresh and fair,
And within its circle is space to spare,
And room for your soul to grow;
The wall that shuts you in
May be hard and high and stout,
But the Lord is sun and the Lord is dew,
And His hedge is coolness and shade for you,
And no wall can shut Him out.