Have you ever heard the term, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn?” That isn’t true you know. I remember one very cold winter morning when I got up early to help my grandfather feed. I was probably about ten years old. For some reason, I had heard that saying so I was surprised to see the predawn as we went to the truck. I had expected it to be pitch black, and I guess I thought dawn would kind of just pop on. It didn’t. When I asked my grand father about it, he just chuckled and said, “It’s just an old saying.” I guess he thought that summary dismissal would clear things up for me. It didn’t.
As an old person, I see why these sayings get started and why they persist. It’s actually a very old story. These sayings serve the same need and come from the same places much of our Bible texts come from. Pick up your Bible and turn to the Psalms and you will see writings that are attempting to make sense of a confusing world with a great big God.
The phrase, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn” was, according to the sources I could find, intended to give hope. Why is it that people have always needed to find ways to give hope? In my opinion, it speaks directly to our separation from God. It’s that free will thing again. As soon as we start deciding for ourselves, we begin to separate from God. Don’t get me wrong, God gave us that ability and for a reason, but it is fraught with issues. It is HARD to know the will of God and even harder to live that out.
I believe it was Blaise Pascal who refers to a God shaped hole within us that only a relationship with Jesus can fill (Cliff Notes version). Which, is another way of saying we all feel a little bit incomplete. And as we attempt to find ways to fill that void, we often take ourselves further and further away from God. New cars, houses, more money and all the stuff in the world won’t touch that place. So what happens? We get phrases like, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.”
Really all we need to do is humble ourselves and admit that it’s dark because we closed the door to the light. It’s dark because we have closed our eyes to the truth. It’s dark because we refuse to believe that we can’t do it ourselves. Do this, pick up that Bible again and read Psalms, all of Psalms and let that light in. It isn’t darkest before dawn. Dawn comes upon us gently and a bit at a time, just as our relationship with Jesus does.
See you in the morning – Sunday morning.