You who are the hope of Israel, its Savior in times of distress, why are you like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who stays only a night? Jeremiah 14:8 NIV
Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
Charlie Brown says, “It always looks darkest just before it gets totally black.” Another CB quote: “Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask ‘Where have I gone wrong’, then a voice says to me, ‘This is going to take more than one night’.” One more: “I think I’m afraid to be happy, because whenever I get too happy, something bad always happens.”
Poor Charlie. But we can sympathise can’t we? We keep our hopes low so we’re not disappointed. Or we struggle with those dark nights of the soul, unable to put our finger on what’s bugging us, and worrying that if we don’t identify it our world will come crashing in on us.
On the other hand there are times we really do struggle with life, trials, trouble, loneliness, fear, or resentment. There are times God seems distant, uninterested in our plight, and unwilling to hear us when we pray. We may know better, and even like the Psalmist call out to God in our distress, “Why are you like a stranger in the land?” But in those dark hours it’s difficult to find comfort in the fact that we can rail against God.
In those moments of distress we can call on God, and take great comfort in his promises of great restoration in the life of the world to come. We can look beyond our present brokenness to the time of restoration when every tear will be wiped from our eyes, and ever disease completely healed. We can find comfort that our deepest and truest hopes will be fulfilled. We can even look forward to understanding and knowing in ways we cannot on this side of eternity.
As long as we live in this broken and fallen world we will bear its impinging fruits. We will never fully understand God’s ways here and now. We must walk by faith and in hope. But in the world to come we will no longer need to look beyond today. We will no longer be eclipsed in our knowledge or distressed in our brokenness.
That hope is precious in the dark nights of the soul, and our faith in God sustains our hope as we look to his promises and his great show of mercy and love in Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and glorious return.