“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
In the teeth of the night, when I’m down, way down, that verse is tough to accept. I know it’s true. It just doesn’t feel true at the time. And that’s my signal that deep inside I’m running from something again.
When in the throes of the broken parts of life, to cope with my downcast spirits, I look for the sun every morning. Night is past, and I seek what is new and fresh, and so I’m drawn to its light. Hope lies therein (or pretends that it does), and at such moments that’s all I have. No matter how hard I’ve been knocked down, I always want to get back up to see that light. For the same reason, after a disheartening day, right before the dark settles in, I find myself looking for the sun’s trailing rays. I hold on needfully to the very last streak. Souls heal in light, and the nights can be long.
I realize my response to the sun’s light is a metaphor for that which I’m missing–God’s own light. And since the Bible tells me, “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5), it seems reasonable to conclude that whenever dark moments overtake me, I should just run the other way. After all, we’re told that it’s wise to flee temptation. True enough. But I misapply the wisdom when I try to flee a tempting sadness that broods from within. It can’t be done. Every time I try ends in a pant of unanswered questions, with all the same sorrows following after me. Unable to outrun my own heartache, time and again, I shrink back and wait. And through ruts of days, and especially nights, nothing changes. Until I finally decide to face the truth inside the pain I carry. I was told it would be this way: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)
The light of day helps me. This I know. But if I always lived there, I wouldn’t grow. I’d never learn that it’s not everything. I don’t understand why some trials drag through such dark places. However I do know that God grieves and desires to travel that road with me. But first, He requires that I submit each of my steps to Him–to trust what I can’t see. When I do, I always come away the better for it. That’s a good thing. And Romans 8:28 feels true after all.
I never used to look into the teeth of the night when I was down. It was too hard. But I’ve come to understand, God is sovereign over that too.
I hope this encourages you to trust God during your trials today.
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