June 30, 2022

In the Darkest Night of the Soul

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Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18

There are times in this life, agonizingly painful times, when it can seem that all hope is lost.

It couldn’t happen again.  Elena’s life had already held tragedy that no one should ever have to bear.  She’d somehow kept living after her 3-year-old daughter was murdered and through the 10-year tortuous public trial of her daughter’s killer.  She’d lived with her husband’s addiction, recovery and relapse and rebellion of her remaining child. And then, she found her husband dead.

Like Job’s friends in the Bible, sometimes we’re speechless at the pain of another.  “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights,” the book of Job records, “No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words” (Job 2:13). Silently giving the gift of prayer and presence is beautiful.

God, however, is not silent nor unaffected by our suffering.  He entered into all of the suffering of humanity for all time, willingly through the sacrifice of Jesus.  The suffering of the cross of Jesus makes it possible for us to say with the writer of Proverbs, “Surely there is a future and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:18).

Here is our bedrock, even in the darkest night of the soul.  “Because of God’s tender mercy,” Scripture says, “the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). Jesus follower, though you sit in death’s shadow, His presence and the resurrection promise of the coming morning is always sure.