Hope Through the Night
We can name our pain and pray in our pain before God.
Let's consider the Psalm where our God tells us that lament is appropriate but never the final word—never the final word—as we turn to a God who understands our need and gives us hope.
June 21st, 2015. Last Sunday at Mother Emanuel in Charleston, South Carolina, Reverend Norvel Goff said these words, where only half a week before such great evil had descended upon his church that nine had been killed during Bible study by racial hatred and evil. As he spoke in the first sermon after the massacre, he said this: "We ask questions, Lord; we ask 'Why?' We cannot help it. It's our human nature. But through it all, those of us who know Jesus, as we find ourselves engulfed in sadness and darkness, and as we find ourselves walking through the shadow of the valley of death, for those of us who know Jesus, we can look through the windows of our faith and we see hope and we see light, and we hear your voice saying, 'I am with you.'"
What if you cannot look through the windows of faith and see hope, see light, or hear God's voice saying "I am with you"? What if the darkness is too dark and the doubt is too loud? What if death is all around you, like some of the pastors to whom I ministered this past week who have lost family and home and future and church. What if deceit is in your marriage? What if betrayal has come from friends? What if you face loss of loved ones, loss of respect, loss of health, loss of your faculties, loss of freedom, and loss of a future? What if it's loss of your country's moral compass? What if you're just getting old, getting tired, or seemingly forever lonely? What if the darkness is really that deep?
That is actually the reality of this song. Everything I have mentioned ...
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Bryan Chapell is the senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois.