Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Dawn Before The Morning

Churches have those times. So do families. Communities. Those of us with any type of cancer in general or melanoma in particular.

We've lived through the night, that really dark time when the hours are filled with hurt, pain, questions, loneliness, fear.  The dark seems interminable. Like it will last forever. Maybe we pray through all of it, some of it, maybe God never hears from us because we don't think we're hearing from God. And the night drags on.

But then, things start to change. The pitch black starts to give way to some color. Deep golds and yellows, rose and pink. Light peeps thru dispelling the dark. Hope is on the horizon. What needed to be dealt with has been faced and it's time to move forward. It's not morning yet. No blue skies with puffy white clouds. Yet. But they're coming and we know it. We can feel it in our bones. How do we know? Because we see the promise on the horizon in that glorious dawn before the morning.

When all seems lost, gone, forgotten, like you've hit rock bottom and even the rocks give way and you're free-falling into nothingness. When all hope is gone and help just doesn't seem to be heading your way, hold on. You're living in the nighttime. We all have those seasons and just like nature's seasons change, so too, will this. Dawn is coming.

How to get thru the night?  This holds true for individuals as well as for churches.
1. Pray.
2. Know God's Word and stand on it. Don't stand on what you hope He says in His Word. Don't make it up as you go along and expect God to bless promises He never made...read and meditate on His Word. There are a lot of great translations. You can go as formal or as informal as you like. Me, I'm very partial to the New Living Translation and to The Message. I think they work very well together. Biblegateway offers a wide variety of translations and languages if you'd prefer to read and compare online.
3. Understand this is normal and every life goes through a time like this sooner or later. At least once into every life a nighttime will fall. You'll move forward and dawn will come and dawn will be followed by morning. I can't make any promises beyond that though. I can't promise when the dark will break. I can't promise that the dawn or the morning will be here on earth. Sometimes God brings them into our lives with Heaven. I can only promise the night doesn't last forever.
4. Even in the night, do the right thing. Be honest. Speak and act with love. Discipline when and where necessary. Be vigilant and don't let your guard down. Let waiting for the dawn be an active wait. And wait so that you won't have regrets when light finally breaks thru. Just because life is in a dark time right now doesn't mean you need to live a dark life.
5. Make plans for the dawn, even though you may not even believe it will ever get here. Make plans for moving ahead in the light. Be motivated even if situations and circumstances want to pull you down. Deal with what you have on your plate and must deal with, yes, but also think ahead to better times. Visualize and dare to dream. And keep praying.
6. Don't dare leave the Lord out of this. He knows the cycle of night, dawn, and morning well. He's there in the midst anyway so draw on Him for strength, courage, hope, resilience, peace, anything and everything you need to get from one moment to the next.
7. And take this time one moment at a time when you need to. Five minutes at a time. A day at a time. When you see you can get through what seems to be the toughest thing you've ever dealt with, and you actually did it...you got through it...you'll see you can get through anything. That's huge! And that's a big sign that the dawn is on the horizon.

One step forward, two steps back. Fall seven times, get up eight. Night comes, followed by the dawn before the morning.

God, I'm grateful for that!