My favorite thing about growing up in Florida was the time my family spent at the beach. I still love the beach. No, I’m not a sun-goddess. My fragile and freckled, pale skin has never stood a chance against the intensity of Florida’s sun-saturated sky.
Though I love the sound of the waves and the feel of the sand between my toes, my favorite pastime is to wake early each morning while everyone else is asleep and head out to the beach. With coffee in hand and a blanket draped around my shoulders, I make my way to a vacant beach chair and wait.
I wait as darkness looms all around. I wait, though the wind can cut mercilessly through any warmth from the blanket. I wait, though there is a heaviness in the air, a stillness that seems as intractable as it is dense. I wait.
I wait, because eventually the moment comes when the darkness gives way to a new day. The sky is painted in the most delicate array of color. In that moment everything changes. I wait for that moment, because every single day the sun rises I am reminded that the darkness doesn’t last forever. The light always comes.
For each of us there are times when it seems like the darkness before dawn will go on forever. Each of us will have moments, perhaps seasons, where the struggles of life threaten to overwhelm us, shake us from our safe, familiar bearings, and walk us into the coldest, harshest places.
Light in these seasons can seem so foreign, so other-worldly, so decidedly out of reach. Yet in the darkest moments, light is our greatest desire.
If you have ever felt lost in a season of darkness, there are three things to remember:
- Hold on! Though everything in you feels like there is no hope, Scripture says that, “Joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5, NCV) Your joy too will come. It may not feel like it today, but just as sure as the suns rises each and every morning, you can be sure that this season will pass. Darkness cannot last forever. Trust that there is light beyond the darkness. Morning is coming. It will be better than you can imagine. You can make it through.
- Listen inside. When you are going through difficult seasons, sometimes your only focus is getting out of this season. You long for relief. If you could, you’d put on your running shoes and run as far and as fast as possible away from the pain. No matter what you’re feeling, try to listen inside. Is there a wound God wants to be healed? Is there a principle God wants you to learn? Is there a way you can use this painful place as a source of growth on your journey? Your healing lies within. His light lies within. Reach for it. It may feel covered and hidden, but it is there. He won’t disappoint. You can find purpose in the pain.
- Be compassionate and truthful with yourself. Sometimes when the light is so dim and hope seems so far away, you have the tendency to be the most critical and condemning of yourself. Your thinking becomes both extreme and negative. It is crucial that you learn to be compassionate and truthful with yourself. The truth is, though your pain is real, His banner over you is love. His light reaches into the deepest places. He is your light and your salvation. The truth is you are completely loved by God. The truth is you are stronger than you believe.
Are you struggling today in a season of darkness? Do you feel hopeless that morning will ever come for you?
Hold on. Listen inside. Be compassionate and truthful with yourself.
Light is made brighter, more brilliant, when it is displayed against the backdrop of darkness. His light will be made more breathtaking and miraculous against the backdrop of your night. He can take your darkness and transform it into light. Trust Him.
Even in the midst of the darkest nights, there is a sunrise coming!