I received an encouraging call yesterday. One of my Finetown friends phoned to tell me that her daughter’s health had improved. Two years ago, her daughter had been diagnosed with lupus. The family’s journey with this disease had been a dark and discouraging one.
When I visited the family last month, the entire family was weary. They were hurting. They didn’t want to give up hope for their daughter and sister, but the challenges they faced seemed without end. They asked for prayers of hope and assurance.
When our children are born, we have tremendous hope and expectancy for their lives, don’t we?
We don’t predict their hardship.
We don’t forecast their despair.
We don’t envision their failure.
We don’t anticipate their disease.
We don’t prepare for their pain.
Instead, we rejoice at their birth and pray for the blessings of God to overflow in their lives now and forevermore.
The last thing we want for any of our children is for them to experience difficult days of darkness.
However, the reality is that there are dark and difficult days on this earth.
I’ve had them.
My husband has had them.
My children have experienced them, too
I’m sure you have as well.
Solomon acknowledged this truth in these words:
However many years anyone may live, rejoice in them all.
But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless.
You who are young, be happy while you are young,
and let your heart rejoice in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
God will bring you into judgment.
So then, banish anxiety from your heart
and cast off the troubles of your body,
for youth and vigor are meaningless. (New International Version, Ecclesiastes 11:8-10)
Looking back upon my life, I remember some dark days. Some of these days occurred when I was young. Some occurred in my early adult years. And other dark days played out later in life. At the time, the pain of those moments seemed intense. Life is like that, though. Present moments of darkness and pain seem harsh, unforgiving, and unkind.
Some of my dark days included
…having a fellow student bully and taunt me for weeks on end.
…missing out on selection to the OSU volleyball team by one spot.
…being betrayed and abandoned by some one I loved.
…learning that our youngest son had a disfiguring birth defect.
…learning that two of our sons were on the autism spectrum.
…discovering that one of our sons was being emotionally and physically harmed.
…being informed I had breast cancer.
For me, when I’ve experienced the dark, unpredictable, and anxious moments of life, they have consistently prompted me to seek a way out of the shadows and into Hope and Light.
Because I believe that every single situation and moment that my God leads me through, whether times of joy or times of hardship, has meaning in Him. Difficult days or blissful days have no significance in and of themselves. Ultimately, our days will all disappear into the annals of time. What we do with them and how we respond to them is what counts.
Solomon exhorts us to rejoice in every moment in life.
How is that possible? Even on the dark, dismal, lonely and uncertain days?
Only in Christ.
Having had cancer, not knowing if it will come back, really helps me to embrace the here and now. I’m not perfect in that; believe me. However, I am not willing to allow dark and discouraging days and their shadows prevent me from cultivating the hope and assuring vision of my Savior in my life today and tomorrow.
This is what we all need on dark days, right?
We need a hope-filled, confident vision of Christ. We need His reassuring Presence.
My friend in Finetown needs the hope of Christ and His reassuring Presence as her family continues to live with the realities of an incurable disease.
My children need the hope of Christ and His reassuring Presence to utilize their strengths to their best abilities as they live life with autism.
I need the hope of Christ and His reassuring Presence as a cancer-survivor and to banish anxiety and fear from my heart.
I need the hope of Christ and His reassuring Presence to lead and guide me as His follower, as the wife of John, as the mother of Micah, Jake and Caleb and as a missionary in southern Africa.
Yes, dark days will come. In fact, you may be experiencing a difficult, discouraging and dark day right now. Take heart, my friend! Our Savior is with us. He is especially close to us on days such as this! Call out to Him and seek His Light, His Hope and His Wonder!
Cultivate your vision of Him and rejoice, delight and be comforted in His Presence. This dark day will pass. His hope and reassuring Presence will not.
Photo by Wanderlust Stargazer of Flickr