Moving Through The Darkness

There are times in life when we pass through what I think of as a Gethsemane experience. This is also sometimes called the Dark Night of the Soul. It is characterized by one’s sense of aloneness and a desperate longing to make sense of the experiences in life one is going through. It is a time filled with questions about why God is allowing or has allowed certain events to transpire in our lives. When someone is emerging from this trying time or is in the midst of it, you can see a marked change in their view of life. They are in the birthing process of compassion. You come from this experience changed for life.

There are many things that precipitate this experience. Sometimes it is the death of someone close, a disaster that brings about material loss, a divorce, or a serious illness. It doesn’t matter the nature of what thrusts a person into this time of grief and turmoil, the feelings and questions are very similar and the darkness is just as real.

When Christ entered the Garden of Gethsemane He knew that He was facing imminent death. He brought three trusted friends with Him to pray with Him and to support Him in His upcoming battle with evil. He had tried to explain to them what was about to transpire but they were unwilling or unable to comprehend and accept that He was about to be murdered. Instead of praying and supporting their beloved friend, they slept. Christ agonized over the fate of the world alone.

He struggled with the evil forces that sought to discourage Him from taking on the burden of sin. Three times He prayed to His Heavenly Father that the cup of bitterness be taken from Him. Three times He accepted the answer and said, “Thy will be done.”

When faced with our own grief and personal battles how often we cry out to God to please remove the trial that we are going through. It is a bitter cup to accept. It is difficult to believe that the unwelcome experience we are going through could ever be a part of something bigger or that we will even survive it.

I will never be asked to take on the sin of the world. One loss, one trial, one burden is enough to overwhelm me. The comfort I have taken during my Gethsemane times has been the knowledge that Christ bore the brunt of the pain that I am feeling. If I am overwhelmed—how much more did the Son of God bear for me? This doesn’t take away my pain but it helps me to reach out in faith knowing that God made a pathway through the Garden. It is not a deep pit. Death, loss, nor defeat can hold me there. God made a path through the darkness that led to the cross, to the tomb, and to victory over death.

When I look at suffering, darkness, and times of grief I am reminded that it is a tunnel that I must pass through because I live in a sinful world. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however, that I can dimly see in the distance. It will just be a matter of time before I am through the difficult experience. I will emerge a person of greater compassion, faith, and caring.

The powers of darkness would have me believe that my times of grief and darkness are a pit that I will be buried in. Remembering the path that Christ secured for me is key to my moving through my grief and not getting stuck in it. Taking one day at a time and finding even one promise of God to hold onto keeps me moving towards the light of a new beginning, a new day, and a belief in a new tomorrow.