Dark Seasons

“Who walks in darkness and has no light yet trusts in the name of the Lord and relies on God?” ~Isaiah 50:10

We are in the midst of a dark season. This has been a sad week for First Baptist Church as we mourn Mr. Henry’s passing. It’s been a week of devastation and fear for thousands of people in Afghanistan. Western North Carolina has had floods, Haiti has experienced an earthquake, and as I write, Hurricane Ida is battering the Louisiana coast. All this has of course happened in the midst of a global pandemic. Illness, war, division, heartbreak, and death have been our realities, and though there have been good things in the past eighteen months, the good has often been overshadowed by the hard and the ugly. It’s been dark.

In his sermon this week, Jim reminded us that the hope of all believers is our confidence that New Creation is coming. Our hope is sure. Our Savior has already won the victory. Our God holds the universe in his hands. Nothing in all world—not the present or the future, not life or death­—nothing can separate us from the love of Christ or from the New Creation that has been promised. 

And yet. And yet we live in a fallen world, and our lives are shaped by that reality as well as the reality of the coming New Creation.

As Christians, I think we often feel obligated to look on the bright side in every circumstance, taking “rejoice always” to mean that we can’t leave room for sadness, that it’s somehow unfaithful to acknowledge the darkness.

However, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11).” Rather than a glib insistence that everything is fine, faith is a serious acknowledgement of the harsh realities of life while still choosing to trust in God.

The words of the prophet Isaiah are a call to followers of God in every generation: “Who walks in darkness and has no light yet trusts in the name of the Lord and relies on God?”

We have a sure hope in the New Creation, and we also hope for good things yet to come in this life. As we walk forward in times of little light or walk alongside brothers and sisters in their own hard seasons, let us answer Isaiah’s call. Let us acknowledge the darkness around us and—in spite of the darkness—choose to trust in the name of the Lord and rely on our God. 

By: Melissa Sutton-Seng, Interim Director of Missional Engagement