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I sat in the darkness this morning. The post-sleep, pre-sun hours are my favorite, and I’m pretty serious about not missing them.
On this particular morning, the sky is not black, but blue. Majestic, glowing blue. The trees out my window, silhouetted against the indigo sky, make me think of Steve. Just a week ago, the trees were fat with leaves, and now they are skeletal, stripped bare but still standing. I think of our faded photos from a Mexico vacation, the pictures of sturdy, healthy Steve that help me remember how much has been taken from him by this disease. So much.
I feel myself start to sink. Into the past. Into the sadness. Into wishes and what ifs. These kinds of thoughts usually come at night. They don’t often encroach on my sacred mornings.
I close the Bible in front of me, suddenly frustrated with it. Frustrated with every little thing and dog-paddling against the darkness that wants to drown my heart and my morning and my whole day if I’ll let it.
Another glance out the window and something catches my eye. A spark. Just the smallest ray, but it’s burning through the black like a blow torch. A holy whisper: You can’t stop the sunrise. It’s just on the other side of all this darkness.
An ember of hope ignites to life. Now the choice is mine: stir it to flame or douse it with discouragement. I don’t want to stir. I don’t want to work for it today. A slow slide into despair is so effortless, but I know where it ends.
So I retrieve my Bible from the floor at my feet, and I give it one more chance to speak my language. One chance to tell me that the whisper I heard was more than my own voice, that it was something supernatural and real and right now.
And there it is—all over the pages. Peering through the darkness of the ages, through the dismal circumstances in history, sunrise is spilling over everywhere and onto everything:
"His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden" (Hab. 3:3-4, NIV).
"He is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth" (2 Sam. 23:4).
"Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace" (Luke 1:78-79, NLT).
"Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth" (Hos. 6:3, NIV).
And my very favorite:
"Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb" (Mark 16:2).
His faithfulness is certain as the sunrise. Sure as the morning. I don’t fret that the sun will lose to the darkness, so I won’t worry that His light will be snuffed out by my sorrow.
Wherever you find yourself today, know that mercy comes. Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes on the other side.
Bo Stern is a blogger and author of the newly-released Beautiful Battlefields. She knows the most beautiful things can come out of the hardest times. Her Goliath came in the form of her husband’s terminal illness, a battle they are still fighting with the help of their four children, a veritable army of friends and our extraordinary God. Bo is a teaching pastor at Westside Church in Bend, Ore.