“Weeping may come in the night, but joy comes with the morning.” – Psalm 30:5 (ESV)
Love doesn’t teach us about itself; it communicates itself to us.
I predicted it was going to be a year of change. Little did I realize what sort of change, nor how subtle it would be, nor how I would be affected. Little by little I notice something wasn’t quite the same. I wasn’t sleeping. I became irritable easily. By balance was off. My digestive system was all out of whack. I had poor concentration. I sensed a foreboding enveloping me.
A trip to doctors with testings and a C.A.T. scan revealed several possibilities for this feeling of being “out of kilter.” However, further testing revealed no major physical concerns to be alarmed about. At least, not for the moment. After the final procedure the specialist laid his hand on my knee and gently said to me in a quiet voice, “You know stress will play havoc on our bodies.” I was given a list of foods with low caloric and metric nutritional values to follow, along with the suggestion to get rid of some stress.
My wonderful friend and prayer partner drove me home from the clinic. Knowing I was still weak from the anesthesia and it would be several hours before my husband would be home from work, she made sure I was going to be okay staying by myself before she returned to her family. I promised her I would go to bed until hubby got home. (God gives us some wonderful angels, doesn’t He?)
I picked up “Joy Comes With the Morning”
Left alone with “woe is me” thoughts, I needed something to take my mind off of myself. So, I thumbed through unread books that have been sitting on the shelf for several months that I had purchased with intentions for use in Stephen Ministry. (Stephen Ministry is a care-giving ministry that supplements pastoral care. The program teaches laypersons, called Stephen Ministers, to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered one-on-one care to people (called care-receivers) who are going through tough times. The one-on-one care continues until the care-receiver feels he/she no longer needs a Stephen Minister, or until professional medical counsel is deemed necessary. A Stephen Minister is not a cure giver…we are care givers.) I picked up “Joy Comes With the Morning,” a little 155 page book chock full of inspirational collections, experiences and wise counsel written by William Kinnaird.
I opened the book and began to read. In the first paragraph of the prologue, Mr. Kinnaird writes:
You’ve probably heard the expression “dark night of the soul,” meaning a time of deep travail when all seems hopeless and useless, when the spirit is broken and to go on seems pointless, too excruciating. We just want to give up and die, even by our on hand if it can’t be accomplished any other way. God’s so-called presence and promises are of no help. We’re too numbed and devastated to be encouraged by them.
He then asks in the following paragraph, “Have you ever had a dark night of the soul?” A few paragraphs down he comments, “I’m sure many of you have gone through your own particular dark night of the soul, whether it be a loss of a child, a serious illness, unemployment, or whatever cruel circumstance of life that brought you despair.”
That’s when I had an “ah-ha” moment.
That’s when I had an “ah-ha” moment. I could finally put a label on what I have been experiencing for the past eight months…a dark night of the soul. However, unlike the author’s comments about God’s so-called presence and promises being of no help, as I look back I can affirm it was God’s presence and promises that sustained me. It was His whispering grace that kept me from accomplishing the end by my own hand.
I didn’t agree with all thoughts and comments made by the author. I responded to what was relevant to my life for the present and let the other comments fall by the wayside for another time. But, the writer of the forward to the book made a comment that I thought especially spoke volumes. Dr. Paul Tourneir said, “Love doesn’t teach us about itself; it communicates itself to us.”
There it was…love…Grace…communicating itself to me, whispering, “Write again. Tell your story. I have someone who needs to hear it.”
I began to feel the rays of sunlight filter through the darkness.
So, just as Mr. Kinnaird shared his story, I will share mine in the days and weeks to come. My prayer is that as you read about my journey through darkness, that you too may find joy with the morning.
Join me next time as I share, “Dusk – The Dark Night Begins.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, the prayer of Psalm 30:2-4 is my prayer also, “O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”
Father God, your promises are true. Your love is never-ending. Thank you for those who are willing to share their stories of trials and witness of how their faith in you helped them out of their darkness. Thank you that we may be encouraged through their testimonies. In Christ name, Amen.