Cathy and I recently listened to the audio version of Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. The book describes the horrible trial of a World War 2 bomber crew who crashed into the Pacific. The three who survived the crash found themselves huddled on two small life rafts trapping rain and catching fish and birds to stay alive for weeks. When the ocean current finally carried them to land, they were taken captive by Japanese sailors. Then they faced the horror of POW camps and the daily struggle between life and death. Hour after hour Cathy and I listened to this book as we traveled down highways, constantly amazed at the depth of their darkness and the hope that sustained them. As the first American planes flew over the camp to drop supplies and announcements of the Japanese surrender, our hearts leapt within us; they were going home!
From a Biblical perspective, the darker the darkness, the more precious the light when we see it. The greater the emptiness, the more God's fullness means to us.
The prophet Joel wanted the message to be heard loud and clear: "Blow a trumpet! Sound the alarm!" Spiritual lethargy, he said, can lead to severe judgment. God lets us fall into dark times, neither so that we can curse the darkness, nor so that we can brush it off as insignificant. Instead, God wants us to face it for what it is, turning to Him in our weakness and shame. Once we acknowledge that the darkness is bigger than our human light can extinguish, we are ready for God to pour out His hope. What will it look like? We will talk about it this week at Stone Ridge Church. If you can't be here, catch the podcast online or subscribe to take it with you.