Sometimes, the heart cries out in anguish, “Comfort me, God, in this my life’s darkest place.” There are times when all of us find ourselves in the midst of darkness. Almost despairing, we hope beyond hope for a new dawn. We speak our prayers, often with groanings too deep for words. We look deeper within, hoping that in the depths of our spirits, we will find an enduring faith. We turn to the comfort of Scripture.
If I had to choose one passage of Scripture that has been for me a source of constant comfort, I would turn to Second Corinthians.
In times of betrayal, I turned to this passage. In times times when I felt persecuted, I turned to this passage. In serious illness, I whispered the words of this passage in the deepest darkness of the night.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed . . .
For all things are for our good, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
For which cause we faint not; but though outwardly we may perish, inwardly we are renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works within us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporary; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
– From II Corinthians 4 (paraphrased)
I can only imagine how many survivors of the recent natural disasters have spoken the words of this passage, prayerfully and with hearts disconsolate. I can imagine many of them crying out from what feels like life’s darkest place. The hymn writer expresses so eloquently the presence of hope for all of us who find ourselves languishing, inviting us to bring our sorrows to the mercy seat of God.
Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal.
– Thomas Moore, 1816
May those who are disconsolate this day find consolation in the lavish grace of God. May those who languish find respite in God’s never-ending mercy. May those who are suffering in what feels like life’s darkest place experience the brilliance of a new dawn. Amen.