Luke 24:29-35 New King James Version (NKJV)
But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.
Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.
In times of deep sorrow, long, dark nights of the soul, I can sense God keeping vigil with me. In those times, I am not alone. God abides with me until the day dawns and the light of morning washes over me with peace.
The nights are the worse. Fred is asleep. Everyone I know that could support me is asleep. And for me, the worry washes over me as the night seems to stand still. I yearn for morning when the light will ease my pain. But the morning comes on its own time. So the night seems endless.
In the scripture in Luke, the people ask Jesus to abide with them, for the night was coming. He stayed with them, and did so much more. So much that they said to one another, “Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked with us and opened the scriptures to us?”
The experience is similar when God abides with me in my times of sorrow and worry. There is no better remedy for the loneliest, darkest night when all feels unwell within me. There are two certainties in those times: God abides with me in the dark time and the light of morning always comes.
“Abide with Me” is one of my favorite hymns. It is not, as we usually believe, about death. It is very much about life and how God is with us when our darkness deepens. The hymn calls God “Help of the Helpless.” I am so grateful for that kind of God and for the reality that the light of morning always dawns, even after the most ominous dark night.
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Enjoy this hymn on YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=i5nbq_VEea0