Not all struggles in this life will cause us great pain. Not all hard times wear upon us the same way. Not every nighttime of life is equally dark, long, or painful. Some are worse than others.
Some of the darkest nights of life come upon us slowly, and others consume us quickly. Right now I am in one of those harder nights, and it came upon me fast enough that I am stunned.
Many of you can relate to this experience. My personal struggle at the moment has to do with my chronic pain. Those who live with such a struggle will understand how it can quickly become complicated and very difficult to cope with. Yet any significant suffering in life can create a nighttime season that is equally or more debilitating.
It is in these soul-rending days that all of my cleverness and composure, and any inkling of an idea that I, in my mortality can somehow make perfect sense of my life fall by the wayside. Some parts of our lives will fall apart. The big question is: what are we going to be left with in the end? What is going to keep us afloat?
What I know I have to cling to in such times is my true hope. Of course, the great question is: is the hope that I have believed in during less trying times sufficient for my worst difficulties? Each day that I feel more worn thin, this question demands more attention.
If the hope that I have clung to in the past is not sufficient for this time and this trial, then that hope is not worth very much. The hope that I have believed in amid the sunny days of my life must also prove to be my sufficient help when a night of heavy troubles falls upon me.
Thank heaven, my hope continues to prove to be solid amid the night seasons of life. Yes, my hope is still with me, and it is still firm, even in these times. I have always needed to have some source of light and meaning in order to keep on moving when life presses down this way. I do have those things right now by means of this hope of mine.
This hope of mine is my faith. It is hoping in a God who will love me no matter how broken I become. It is hoping in the fact that there is an afterlife, and a heaven waiting for me when this life is done; one day I will live a perfect life without pain. It is hope in the fact that, even though I may not understand this in the present moment, my God will use what is happening to me to grow me, bless other people, and work other good things. Hence my pain has meaning. I have meaning.
I have to have hope right now. If you are going through troubling times, then you know that you need hope right now too. We all need hope. (I’ve written more about my own hope in the “about” section of this blog.)
So much falls apart and seems uncertain in the night seasons of life. Yet, my hope remains.