Even in the Midst of Troubles There is Reason for Joy

When things grow dark, turn your eyes to God.

It is a common experience for all of us. We sometimes get overwhelmed by all of the darkness and suffering that seems to be everywhere around us, but even more so by the darkness that sometimes enters into our own lives, into our homes, or into our own consciences in the form of guilt for our own failings.

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At these moments, we wander in a dangerous place, a place that tempts us to despair. But in reality, we have the best of all reasons to have hope, even in the midst of our darknesses. We can have hope against all the odds, because of the Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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With faith, we can trust without doubt that He is with us, at our side, always watching, caring for us, and defending us. This faith, as Paul tells us, “is the realization of what is hoped for, and evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). It is a gift that God freely gives us to encourage us, especially in those times when we get lost in “a dark wood” or lose the narrow path. He is the light that leads us. In the darkest of places in our life, he is the single candle that pushes back all of the darkness. He is the Presence that walks beside us, assuring us, strengthening us, even when we don’t see him. This is the faith he gives to those who choose, with all their heart, soul, mind and strength to follow him. This is the faith that can conquer any darkness.

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When we find ourselves overwhelmed by the darkness we see in the world outside, or the darkness that sometimes enters our own hearts, we need to turn our eyes back toward God. These moments of fear or despair can seem overwhelming. When we realize this, that is when we need to go to prayer. When we are depressed or tempted toward despair, it is because we are too focused on ourselves. We say things like, “Woe is me”, or “Why is everything and everyone so against me?” Or, “Why can’t I do anything right?” The best way out of that dark space, to get out of this fixation on ourselves is to see and to react to the hurt or the needs we see in others.

When we choose to serve and to help others, to walk with them, despite our own hurt, this is how we and they can begin to feel the Presence of God again. Then, suddenly, like a miracle, we find ourselves surrounded by light again. And we can hear the words of the Psalm above echoing in our souls: “You have given my heart more joy… In peace I [can] lie down and fall asleep, for you alone, Lord, make me secure.”

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When things grow dark, turn your eyes to God, for He is the Life that brings light to the world, and the Truth that brings joy to the brokenhearted, and the Way to eternal happiness. Amen.

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