Walk Until You See The Light
One of the most challenging things we face is when our faith takes a hit----when we find ourselves experiencing a "dark night of the soul."
So many things in life can test our faith and send us spinning. A loved one might pass away, or we experience the loss of a relationship. We might experience the shock of a bad health diagnosis for ourselves or someone we love.
We might also go through the devastation of financial ruin, the loss of a career, or watch our kids or grandkids deal with suffering, anxiety, or addiction.
Any of these things can challenge our faith, but when we feel beset by more than one challenge, it can send us into doubt, uncertainty, and fear.
God knows, I have had more than my share of moments like that, which might seem odd for a pastor to admit. Still, I know what it's like to wonder where God is amid life's challenges.
I recently read something by Otis Moss III, who addressed this idea after reflecting on a moment when he stood in the doorway of his daughter's room, watching her sleep.
He'd had a conversation with her about the presence of the stars in the night sky and the knowledge that the sun was still shining on the other side of the Earth. Here's what he wrote:
What we forget, faithwise, in our fear... is that even in the darkest night, when we see no light at all, the light is still there. The sun is still shining over Earth even when our side of Earth rotates away from it. The stars still shine above us, no matter ... how thick the clouds above our heads. What we need in the darkest nights is to keep walking along the path until we can glimpse the stars again. What we don’t need is to panic and run blindly into the woods.
There is so much wisdom in that reflection, and it resonates with me powerfully and beautifully.
No matter how dark things get when we struggle to hold on to our faith, there is still light in the darkness. We just have to keep walking until we find it again.
The temptation to "run blindly into the woods" is strong when dealing with doubts and fears. There's also a fairly strong urge to stop moving, get into a fetal position on the path, and stay there.
We need to learn to walk forward even if we are terrified. We soon learn that fear and faith can be held together when we learn to keep moving, even when we carry our fear with us.
This is also when it's important to have the right traveling companions by our side. We need fellow travelers who will hold us up, keep us moving forward, and have faith in us when we aren't feeling it.
When our faith is flagging, and we're tempted to run headlong into the void or simply collapse on the road, our community, trusted friends, and loved ones can keep us walking straight even when we can't see the path all that well.
And so we move forward, eyes to the heavens, knowing the light will come. The night will pass, and the sun will shine again, but until then, we'll look for the stars to peek through the clouds and the moon to light our way.
The light is there. We'll see it soon enough.
May it be so. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.