Season of Longer Darkness

Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.
For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.” That is why we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will not be afraid.”

Ah, it’s now November. Outside Indonesia, winter starts settling in as autumn’s colors fade to duller hues of gray and brown. Hints of winter’s coming chill shock our unsuspecting faces. We leave for work or school in the slow fade of the night’s darkness. We return home in the early evening’s dark embrace. From the beginning of November until late December, each day brings a longer darkness. Each night descends with more haste and departs with greater reluctance. We live in the season of longer darkness.
Not a few folks of faith find themselves in the spiritual season of longer darkness. A job loss, an unwanted divorce, the death of loved one, the lingering illness of someone precious, the diminishing reserves of retirement, the bitter loss of the mind�s ability, a grievous wounding by a friend, the spiritual failure of a hero… any of these and many more hurts can leave us in the season of longer darkness. In the season of longer darkness, faith�s fire doesn�t burn as bright and its moments of shining don�t last as long. Life is much more a struggle and faith is very much a battle with our will.
How do we survive the season of longer darkness? Where do we find fresh hope to continue what seems like a longer and harder journey of faith?
In the physical season of longer darkness, there are surprising moments of joy and delight, things like…

  • The refreshing chill in the air after a long hot summer
  • The beauty of a cold clear night where the world sparkles under a full moon
  • The purifying clean and the soft hushed tones of new fallen snow
  • The opportunity for more rest during the longer nights
  • In much the same way, God brings us blessings in the spiritual season of longer darkness. Because life is more a struggle and the spiritual dimensions of our life are more a battle, we often miss these touches of grace, these surprising moments of joy and delight. However, if we look closely we will find them. While sometimes overworked, the little poem �Footprints� still resonates within our hearts because we have found its message true. God does join us in the darkest parts of our season of longer darkness.
    “One night I had a dream–
    I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
    and across the sky flashes scenes of my life.
    For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
    When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
    I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
    I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
    there was only one set of footprints.
    I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life. This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it.
    “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would walk with me all the way, but I’ve noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints.
    I don’t understand why in times when I needed you most, you should leave me.”
    The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering.
    When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you”
    -Author Unknown-

    Yes, sometimes, and maybe even often times in the season of longer darkness, we face grueling periods of perseverance brought on by life’s trials or our own failures and sin. But even in this long season, and even in the darkest of nights that try the human soul, we are not abandoned. No matter what our circumstances suggest, our God is faithful and he has promised that the night will pass; he will not forsake us. No matter how long the night may seem, morning will come with its joy.
    So hold on if you are in the longer season. And if you are not, find someone who is, and help point them to the Light until their darkness passes.

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