There are times in all our lives we call "the dark night of the soul." Events and circumstances we can't avoid, but must painfully walk through. Those dark, murky valleys where there seems to be no light at all, and we must "walk by faith and not by sight."
Maybe it's the "valley of the shadow of death." Or the valley of divorce and abandonment. Or the valley of financial loss.
Often the event arrives suddenly, with no warning. The initial shock and fear literally take our breath away. We're completely floored by the conflicted emotions that follow.
But the test of faith into which we are instantly hurled is worse. "Why is this happening, God? Where are You?! Lord, I beg You to bring healing. Let the doctors be wrong! Please make my husband/wife come back to me and heal our marriage! Lord, my child is missing!! Please find him/her!! God, I can't pay the mortgage and the foreclosure papers came today! Help me!!!!"
When God doesn't immediately respond, we are forced to walk through the most bitter of times, seemingly completely alone and unsupported.
But that is an illusion. We are not alone; never alone! God is with us in those valleys. And He longs to make Himself known to us, if only we will turn to Him and ask for His help.
The Holy Spirit is the great Comforter. In the very midst of the storm He can drop a warm blanket of comforting love on your raw emotions. He can take away the fear and hold your heart safe and secure. Ask Him to comfort you.
When we accept the help Christ offers us, our heavy burdens will be carried for us, freeing us emotionally to do what we must to take care of the business at hand. Jesus promised: "Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt 12:28).
When we turn to the church in our hour of need, our church family will help "Bear one another's burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal 6:2).
When we look up to God as we walk through "the valley of the shadow of death," we will see that we do not need to fear that evil has come upon us, rather that in the midst of the storm He is there to comfort us. (Psalm 23:4).
I love the lyrics (by Scott Krippayne) to the song, "Sometimes He Calms the Storm":
All who sail the sea of faith, find out before too long
How quickly blue skies can grow dark, and gentle winds grow strong.
Suddenly fear is like white water, pounding on the soul,
Still we sail on knowing that our Lord is in control.
Sometimes He calms the storm with a whispered "peace be still"
He can settle any sea, but that doesn't mean He will.
Sometimes He holds us close, and lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm, and other time He calms His child.
He has a reason for each trial that we pass through in life
And though we're shaken we cannot be pulled apart from Christ
No matter how the driving rain beats down, on those who hold to faith
A heart of trust will always be, a quiet peaceful place.
Give your heart and life to our wonderful Lord who loves you so dearly that He gave His heart and life to you. He is only waiting for your invitation. You do not have to face your storm alone.
The Rev. Anne Barber, is pastor of My Father's House, 7215 U.S. 301 N., Ellenton. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.