I cried at the slightest provocation and sometimes with no provocation at all. I was falling into a black hole, and felt powerless to stop my descent.
My life had fallen apart and there was no repairing it. Everywhere I turned, things were hard.
This was one of the lowest points in my life. I was struggling to believe that God was good. That He loved me. That my situation would ever change.
I felt desperate.
My friends tried to help me as best they could. Bringing me food, praying with me, encouraging me to press on.
But despite their best efforts, I felt overwhelmed. Discouraged. Hopeless. No one could fully understand my pain.
No one can ever truly know another’s sorrow. Our sorrow is unique to us. And each of us must walk our path alone.
I was talking with some friends about how I was feeling. I didn’t really want to talk, but I knew that talking to friends was important. Especially when I wanted to pull away.
Soon after we started, I couldn’t speak anymore. I just sat there, crying.
After a long silence, one friend spoke. I will never forget her words.
“When I think of you and pray for you, I keep seeing this image. It’s of the disciples, and Jesus’ mother Mary, weeping at the foot of the cross. They are huddled together, trying to comfort each other. Trying to make sense of what has happened. But it just doesn’t make sense.
The sky is black and all hope looks lost. Their dreams have died. It seems that nothing good will ever come from this.
To them, this day, Good Friday, is the darkest day they’ve ever known.
But the one thing that they do not know is … Easter is coming.”
Easter is coming.
I could scarcely take in the words.
As she was finished speaking, I was filled with an indescribable peace.
Of course. Easter is coming.
I stopped crying.
Her picture was arresting. As I imagined how the disciples and Mary must have felt, I felt a bond with them. They knew what it was like to feel desperate. Dreams shattered. Life ruined. Plans destroyed.
At that point they could only see part of the picture. The part they were living at the time. That’s all they had.
That’s all I could see. The raw circumstances that surrounded me. The endless dark.
I couldn’t see how God could bring anything good out of my situation. But as I let her words wash over me, I realized that my story wasn’t over yet. The end wasn’t written. God was not finished.
God does miraculous things. Even when all hope seems lost.
My friend’s words brought me inexpressible comfort, both then and now. I’ve clung to those words, that picture, for years.
That picture was God’s gift to me. To put my life in perspective. To show me I wasn’t alone. To give me hope.
I realized that my suffering was temporary; one day it would be over. My suffering had meaning; it would not be wasted. My suffering could glorify God; it would ultimately be good.
My life doesn’t feel like it did that day, and God has given me untold joy even in difficult circumstances. I am reminded of Josh Wilson’s song, “Before the Morning,” where he says:
Do you wonder why you have to Feel the things that hurt you If there's a God who loves you Where is He now?
Maybe there are things you can't see And all those things are happening To bring a better ending Someday, somehow you'll see, you'll see
Would you dare, would you dare, to believe That you still have a reason to sing Cause the pain that you've been feeling It can't compare to the joy that's coming So hold on, you gotta wait for the light Press on and just fight the good fight Cause the pain that you've been feeling It's just the dark before the morning
The lyrics remind me that we have no idea what God is doing with the struggles in our lives. It may be that the pain we’re feeling right now is just the dark before the morning.
I don’t know where you are in your life this Good Friday.
But I want to rejoice with you in this:
Easter is coming!