Doesn't the saying go that the night is always darkest right before the dawn? Life can feel so dark right now - and I have heard a lot of people say how tired they are of living this way. COVID-19 has changed the way we live in the world, without a doubt. When we add a record-breaking year for natural disasters, tense race relations, and a challenging election to the mix, it's natural for us to feel like we're bumbling around in the dark, crashing into things, creating a huge mess, with no light at the end of the tunnel to give us direction.
If I'm honest - I also don't want to consider how the mess we're making due to circumstance is going to get cleaned up later. Just saying!
However, there is truth to that quote. There is truth to those who say that when you're just about ready to give up and quit, that's when the breakthrough comes. If you have ever potty-trained a kid who has zero interest in a toilet, you know exactly what I'm talking about. I also remember what seemed like 3 endless days transitioning one kid from a crib to a daybed. Finding out that she could just hop right out of bed was so much fun for her; I thought I was going to lose my mind carrying her back, until one time, it just finally stopped. She stayed. I don't remember if I cried, laughed, or just simply fell asleep.
Right now, we all have days when we want to give up, when we're tired of living this way, when we just want our lives back. There are days when we're not sure unity is ever going to be a term to describe us again. There are moments when we're not sure we can stand another political ad or any more posturing.
And still, there is hope. A breakthrough must be just around the corner, because this feels like a pretty dark night.
Scripture speaks into this moment in important ways. On Sunday we read Paul's words from the end of the first chapter of Philippians, where he says that he just longs to die and go to be with Jesus in heaven, where everything is perfect and he can be together with the God who loves him more than he could ever understand. That sounds like a dark night to me, and that's even before all the shipwrecks!
But then Paul says that he realizes he still has a purpose in this world. Living means that he can continue to encourage, teach, and support others, and preach the good news, of course! He tells us that he has decided to live each day God gives him, because he knows he can do so much good in the name of God. His breakthrough is coming - he will do so much good for welcoming all of us Gentiles into the faith and leaving a lasting legacy of faith and witness.
What is your purpose? What is mine? God definitely has us here for a reason, so can we find enough hope in that to push on through the darkness, knowing that light will come even if we can't see it yet? Can we trust God enough to keep walking, waiting to see the breakthrough God is bringing?
We can - but let me say that it's much harder to do alone. Hope and joy multiply when we have people to share them with, and there's nothing like a church community for that. You also have lots of other people in your life too. Make sure you have enough community around you, then hold on for that breakthrough. It's pretty dark out there right now, but dawn is coming. God promises... and God always keep His promises.