In the Darkness
Have you noticed that in the dark times of life, bright thoughts rarely just pop up? In the midst of the darkness, we tend to see only darkness.
There is a great seen in “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” (one of “Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis). The heroes are on the ship “Dawn Treader” and unable to find a route around an ominous area of darkness ahead, they have entered an evil and foreboding darkness. There is no wind to drive the sails and rowing seems to move them nowhere, no matter which way they turn the boat. Worse, in the midst of this cursed darkness, their thoughts and fears become real, and being in darkness, their thoughts are generally dark and fearsome. Does that sound like your dark moments? No way to move out and fears take on a dread reality?
Finally, Lucy remembers that Aslan (the ‘Jesus’ character) can reach even into this place and as she cries out, the darkness is not banished, but a tiny shaft of light appears and the rowers begin to move the ship, a little at first, but slowly, they emerge from the darkness, into the sun again.
In a short couple of verses, I think Sunday’s reading from Lamentations is teaching us the same thing (in fact, I think these verses in Lamentations may have informed Lewis’ imagining of this scene).
The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
(click here for Sunday’s full lesson)
Note that the poet says “This I call to mind…” It doesn’t just come, he makes a deliberate choice. In the darkness of his affliction, even as his soul can think of almost nothing but darkness, he makes a choice to remember the steadfast love and care of God. The rest of Lamentations make clear that the problems have not now magically disappeared, but rather they can now be carried. Afflictions no longer define destiny.
When you find yourself in a season of darkness, don’t just wait to be delivered. Call this truth to mind: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end.” Don’t expect the struggles to disappear, but expect the light to begin to shine and you will begin to see the way ahead. The pain may not vanish, but I believe you will find that it can be carried. It is a wonderful promise!
This column appeared in the October 4, 2019 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.