Darkness is assured. In the natural realm, the sun goes down everyday, leaving a vacancy for the darkness to reign. In the darkest night, we may wonder if the sun will ever return, but we know that as surely as the sun sets every night, it also rises every morning.
However, is darkness so assured in the spiritual life of the Christian? I can tell you that it’s real in my case. These recent months and weeks, today, this very minute, I’m walking through what feels like the darkest night. Spiritually, I’ve grown cold. Maybe it’s depression. Maybe I’m jaded or burnt out. (I suspect all are probably true.) Whatever it is, I’m not loving it.
Has God forsaken me?
Just because I’m in darkness doesn’t mean that it’s over. This miserable time in my life isn’t unusual for the honest person. I really don’t know if that’s comforting or not, but this same dark and lonely road has been travelled by many the overcomer throughout history.
Right now, I don’t feel like I have much light, and I certainly don’t feel like I’m overcoming anything. But I have hope that the light will return, and when it does, darkness has no choice but to turn and run. Until then, so long as darkness reigns, so must patience. I may not be walking in the full light of Christ today, but with my gaze fixed eastward, I will surely see the sunrise.
I know I’m not alone. Consider the following:
In every lot we have need of patience. James exhorts us to take the prophets “for an example of suffering and of patience,” reminding us that we call them blessed which endured, and have seen the end of the Lord, how that He is full of pity, and merciful. There were times when even men of faith could not sing. They hanged their harps on the willows of their grief. But they always had hope. They hung up their harps but they did not break them, nor sell them, nor fling them away: they simply hung them up till their hearts could sing again. Things are hung up to be taken down again. You cannot bear the music today, but the song will return, and you will yet praise Him Who is the health of your countenance and your God. In such seasons “let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for He is faithful that promised.” It is in patient endurance the soul is won and the promise received. There is no interpreter of life’s mysteries like patience. To them that wait upon the Lord, that do not hurry in their impatience, there shall be given strength, and light, and joy. —Samuel Chadwick, in Humanity and God (emphasis mine).
Maybe you’re in the dark, too. You may not see me next to you, but I’m here. Better yet, God is with us still. While we cannot see Him in our midst, while the darkness may bring with it a chill that stops His warmth from infiltrating our being, He is here.
Don’t give up. Keep what fire you have burning, even if it leaves you with little more than a single ember. If all you can do is lay down, weep bitter tears, and wait for the morning, do so with hope, knowing that the sun will rise. Until then, patience. God willing, we will get through this. And if I know anything at all, it is that He is willing that we get through this together.
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