cruelty at night

Recently I heard it yet again...
A person in pain. A person stumbling through a 'dark night of the soul'. Things are bleak. And this person is told that their faith is too frail. It is too fragile. 'You need a stronger faith'.

I am not convinced. That is cruel. It is unkind. It is bad advice.

The wonderful thing about following Jesus is that there are times when things get frail - but that is OK. Things are not dependent on our frailty but on God's strength. We may lose our hold of him -but he does not lose his hold of us. That is our hope. In Christian conversation today 'hope' just does not grab enough headlines. During those long 'dark nights' the way forward is not so much about mustering up a stronger faith as it is meditating on a certain hope. That is the key.

As we do so let's be inspired by the way God designs the world.
Into the rhythm of a 24hr period he places the darkness of midnight and the lightness of dawn. Dawn always comes. That is a certain hope. In fact, as Bono expresses it, 'midnight is where the dawn begins'. Into the rhythm of the 365day period he places the cold of winter and the warmth of summer. The warmth always comes. That is a certain hope.

And this is the way God designs our lives as we walk with him. Dawn and warmth always comes. And I do mean 'always' ... but then God follows an eternal planner, rather than an annual one and so he may work more slowly than we'd like. And as God walks with these people so also do we need to walk with them through the dark and the cold until the light and the warmth emerges.

nice chatting

Paul Windsor

Comments

Andrew Butcher said…
There's not very much can say about these things. Silence and humility in the face of the unexplainable and the unbearable are often the only responses. Platitudes and prayers aren't always the best things to do. Staying alongside those who are travelling in darkness and letting them take your hand as a guide is often the best approach. Each of our stories of darkness is different. I wrote about mine in a Reality Magazine article a year or two back and you can find it at http://www.reality.org.nz/article.php?ID=449
Lairdy said…
G'day Paul, I heard you speak about these things at Katoomba Christian Convention (in Australia) a few years back from 1 Peter 1. It remains one of the most encouraging talks I have ever heard.

Thank you for continuing to remind us of the wonderful hope we have in Christ.

Andrew

PS - Just recently discovered your blog!
Paul Windsor said…
Ah yes - 1 Peter 1! I meant to mention it as I concluded that post. Thanx Andrew. On that Katoomba occasion someone wrote a poem based on 1 Peter 1 as I was speaking and came up afterwards to give it to me. Never had that happen before or since. I still keep it in my Bible...

"Through the coldest winter
In the darkest night
The hope Christ Jesus paid for
Makes dying faith burn bright.

Through our longest trial
In our deepest pain
The hope Christ Jesus bought us
Fills our hearts with joy again.

Though suffering cuts a channel
So deep no heart can know
His grace and hope can fill it
So peace and joy will flow.

Through mercy he has called us
Christ claimed us as his own
Hope's river soon will take us
to the sea before his throne."

Welcome aboard, Andrew - you are very kind to write as you have done.

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