No matter who we are, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much we pray, there will be times darkness that cannot be avoided. These times may be of our own making, of our reaction to others, or pushed on us by the nature of a fallen, hostile world. When these times of darkness come, there may not be a Bible verse, a prayer, or a comforting word to be heard. We may seem very much alone in our own mental blindness.
What then? Are we to just listen to the negative voices that fill our thoughts during such times? Do we just let the darkness shape how we live or wish not to live? Do we seek to retreat to a place where thoughts cannot follow (so we think) and try to cocoon ourselves in a imaginary world of distractions and denials? Oh, what a temptation the latter offers!
It really doesn’t matter what we do. Such times are likely completely out of our control. We are there in that darkness. We are there, isolated, sick with self-desolation.
Then sometime, through no action of our own, the darkness begins to slightly clear giving us a reprieve, a chance to glimpse, even if briefly, what is in the darkness with us.
It is there we find God feeling everything we feel. We find God, with eyes of sorrow and compassion for our suffering, looking at us, holding on to us even when we cannot or will not feel the Divine embrace. In this time I now pray:
If I hope for the underworld as my dwelling, lay out my bed in darkness, I’ve called corruption “my father,” the worm, “my mother and sister.” Where then is my hope? My hope– who can see it? Will they go down with me to the underworld; will we descend together to the dust? (Job 17:13-16 CEB)
Thank God the stars are set beyond my power,
If I must travail in a night of wrath,
Thank God my tears will never vex a moth,
Nor any curse of mine cut down a flower
G. K. Chesterton
If I said, “The darkness will definitely hide me; the light will become night around me,” even then the darkness isn’t too dark for you! Nighttime would shine bright as day, because darkness is the same as light to you! (Ps. 139:11-12 CEB)
Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.” (Matt. 28:20 CEB)
My crucified and risen Savior,
With your loving and open heart help me in my darkness,
to know that you are there.
Forgive me O merciful one when I sink into my weakness
and allow personal pity have power over hope.
Lord nothing I go through do I go alone.
You are following in my footsteps.
Take me from the dark.
Hear me now O lord.