I have been struggling the past week. There have been times that a pervading sense of darkness has threatened to overwhelm me. The time of year – February, our darkest and most wintry month – along with the weather – days and days of rain without a ray of sunshine – have been contributing factors. I truly wish that I could say that I am one of those “sunshiny” people who find joy even in the darkest of places, but the truth is that in certain seasons of the year I struggle to do so.
However, I am very thankful for a God who understands not only joy, but also despair. I am thankful that our God does not expect us to hide our deepest feelings, but He bids us come to Him and cast our cares upon Him, for He cares for us. And in times of darkness, I am so very thankful that Jesus called himself a man of sorrows and one who was not unacquainted with grief.
And when the dark days come, I am thankful to have been raised in places of worship where there is a song or hymn for every season. And even though I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, I place my confidence in a God who has “tuned my heart to sing His praise,” and thus I can proclaim in my loudest voice with the saints of old:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
Edward Mote, circa 1834
While it is true that I may be “wishy-washy” with my feelings and prone in certain seasons to cycles of despair and darkness, I know that our God is the rock upon which we can stand, and the love upon which we can rely. When everything else gives way, Jesus Christ, my “hope and stay,” is the unchanging giver of grace and mercy. How my heart rejoices within me!