When all seems dark

Hello, thought I’d jump in with a surprise post.  I wasn’t planning on sending one out until Tuesday, however I thought I’d tell you about something that happened this last week.  Since I already have my posting for Tuesday written, I figured I’d just share a message of encouragement now.

This past Tuesday and Wednesday we had extreme winds in our area.  The winds gusted to over 60 mph and they just lasted and lasted.  I’d sit in my house listening to the constant wail and wonder if that is what the moors sound like that I’ve only read about it books.  It was an eerie sound.

On Wednesday afternoon our electricity went out.  We later learned that before it was over, this wind storm took out the power at a record 800,000 homes.  I wasn’t too worried.  I had been feeling tired anyway and I just took a nap.  Besides, we had a gas fireplace, a gas portable generator, and the temperatures had been warmer than usual.

Wednesday evening we were in camping mode.  I had a battery-operated lantern which provided good light.  Around dinnertime we joined the rest of the neighborhood and started up our generator.  We kept it running for a few hours, shutting it off before heading to bed.

The next day the power was still off.  Our biggest worry was the turkey breast in the refrigerator that we had planned to roast the previous evening.  The turkey was getting to a ‘must have’ time and I felt badly that we might have to throw it out.  Our generator is limited enough that our oven won’t work while it is running.  Then, around 4:00, our electricity came back on.  I was so happy!  That wasn’t too bad after all.  I set about preparing the turkey and we ate it that night for dinner.  After attending to a few chores, we sat down to relax for the evening and BOOM, the power went out again.  Surely it will be back again soon.

Friday came and the darkness was still there.  It was noticeably colder too.   Not wanting to run the generator unnecessarily, we decided to just use it for a few hours in the morning and evening.  Otherwise, we huddled near the fireplace and under blankets.

By Friday evening, my positive demeanor had turned.  Previously, I reminded my family of the blessings even within this event, but I wasn’t feeling so accepting by this time.  I think a major factor were the reports I was receiving on my phone.  Each update told us how the electricity company was making good progress on the outages and how the numbers were decreasing with each report.  Also, when we’d venture out to the library or to get lunch, I’d overhear people discussing how ‘some’ people still didn’t have power.   inevitably, the now informed person would sound surprised, as if they couldn’t imagine it.  

I started thinking about how this experience is similar to other tough times we go through in life.  When we first start into hardship (whether it be loss of health, loved ones, or financial security), we are a bit in shock.  However, if you are like me, you think that you will emerge from this stress soon enough and life will be okay.  You rally all your resources and set in to get through this period.  You may even try to look for the blessings within the crisis.

But time goes on and things don’t get better.  Some days maybe hold a little light, but it fades much too quickly and once again you are left in darkness.  Only now the darkness starts to suffocate you.  The reality that this isn’t going away quickly sets in.  You look around and it seems everyone else is going on with life normally and you alone are left in this empty place.  You start to feel bitter – at others, at God, and at yourself for feeling like this.

If this sounds familiar, I want to remind you that God knows what you are going through, even if you feel alone in your misery.  He is never caught off guard, even when we are.  He has a plan for us and it is never thwarted by storms.  Help will come, but not before the time He has designated it to come.

In my impatience with our situation, I made reservations at a hotel.  I didn’t really feel like I had the money to spend on this luxury, but I was tired of living in the cold and darkness.  The deal was that I could cancel the hotel reservation and not lose my money if I did it before 6PM.  Six o’clock came but no electricity came.  My husband went out to hook up the generator for dinner preparation.  At about 6:10 suddenly our lights came on.  At first I was sure it was due to the generator, but our son pointed out that lights that weren’t linked to it were now on.  I hurried to my phone and called the hotel.  When I explained the situation to the front desk lady, she refunded my amount, despite my call coming in after the deadline.

Many times God will let us go right up to the end without seeming to respond.  Does He do it to be cruel?  No, He may be testing our faith in His abilities.  He also may be helping us see ourselves in a more humble way.  I realized through this that it really doesn’t take too long before I get irritable when things aren’t going my way.  Oh sure, I speak great words of encouragement to people in health or economic crises, but I get whiny so quickly when I’m just out of power for a few days.

If you are going through a trial right now, look to God for help.  Don’t take it from me, take it from what God says:

They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.  Psalm 22:5 (NIV)

My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.  Psalm 62:5

 

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