This past December, my daughter and I made plans to drive to Nashville, Tennessee to spend Christmas with my oldest son and his wife. It was going to be a 12+ hour drive. The “Plus” was because we were taking three dogs with us. Wait, let me stop here and give you some advice. For anyone thinking about driving 12 hours in a car with three dogs, bring some sort of air spray. Lysol. Febreeze. Something. Dogs have the weirdest smells. All day. I’m not sure if it’s nervousness, or what. Maybe someone who knows can send me a DM on Instagram and let me know. Anyway, it’s bad!!
Okay. So, we knew there would be a little extra time added to our trip. We also decided to make the drive in one go. So, I’d drive three hours, she’d drive three, switching off and only stopping for the essentials. I drove to Austin where she lives so we could leave from there. We had planned to be packed up and ready to leave about 8 am. But we both woke up at 3 am. Wide awake. So, we decided to go ahead and get on the road.
I drove the first three hours and, of course, it was quite dark when we hit the road. We had been driving for about two hours and I distinctly remember that it seemed to be getting darker and darker outside. Just really pitch black. And I remember saying, “Isn’t the sun supposed to rise any minute? Why is it so dark?” And the phrase, “It’s always darkest just before dawn” immediately came to mind. Alex and I were discussing why that might be, and of course we had gotten away from the city, so that was probably one reason. We made some other speculations trying to make reason of it, but I’m not quite sure we were right. But regardless, it felt like a deep darkness had definitely encompassed us. It’s always darkest just before dawn. Literally 30 minutes later, there was a golden glow on the horizon. Fascinating.
So, I started thinking about what that phrase meant when people said it. Typically, it’s to inspire hope to people who are under dire and adverse circumstances, in a deep darkness in their life. And the hope in that deep darkness is that God will be found there. Help will be found there, in power and in provision for whatever we may need in our time of trouble. That’s what Psalm 46:1 says. In fact, the whole of Psalm 46 is promise that God is a Refuge for His people. When we’re facing something daunting, even something that makes us face our worst nightmare, God promises to be with us in that darkness. But He also promises that the dawn is coming. Psalm 46, verse 5 says, “God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” There is bright joy after distress of night. He is able to bring light after the darkness. He is the Omnipotent God - meaning He has unlimited power, able to do anything. And nothing is impossible for Him. Every resource is at His disposal. He is able to orchestrate things and move people according to His great pleasure. And not only is He able to move the mountains that seemingly stand in our path, but by His Spirit He brings His peace and comfort in the midst of our unbearable circumstances. Second Corinthians 1 tells us that this God is the God of all comfort, comforting us in all our affliction.
In Episode 51 - The Goodness Of A Sovereign God In The Midst of Affliction I talked a lot about, obviously, being in a place in your life where you’re experiencing great affliction. In that episode I said, “In our affliction, we need more and more and more of God, the One who takes our burden. The Sovereign of all things; the One whose shoulder upholds the government of worlds. This One is who we need to come closer to in our affliction.”
So, here’s where I want to land today. I said, “In our affliction, we need more and more and more of God.” But if we are turning to this God of all comfort in our affliction, then we actually GET more and more of God. Every conflict, every loss, every tragedy, every painful circumstance, every struggle is an opportunity to know Him better than we knew Him before. In our brokenness, we have the privilege of becoming richer, more complete, more satisfied than we ever had an opportunity to be in any other circumstance…and ever thought possible. The beauty of knowing Him more intimately is greater than anything else you could ever dream or desire.
Not long after Brian died, a friend called and said, “Tricia, I wish I could take all your pain and suffering away.” Such a compassionate statement. But I’m pretty sure I responded by saying I feel like I’ve been put in a position to know God in the most intimate way that many - MANY - people on this earth will never have the privilege of experiencing; That I’d choose it all over again for the privilege of knowing Christ like I do now. Because it’s the ones who have been so broken who know Him best. It’s in the brokenness that we get to experience His closeness, Psalms 34:18 says. It’s there that, possibly, we are more desperate to seek out God and His intervention in our lives, and then we are much more aware, more sensitive, to His nearness in a very unique way. We’re also intimately familiar and acquainted with His character, who He is and how He shows up for those He loves. It’s an opportunity to experience Him in a whole new way, one in which we couldn’t otherwise know without the struggle, and pain, and affliction.
I was talking to a new friend the other day. They’re currently experiencing that deep, deep darkness, and they were saying how they wish they didn’t have so much suffering in their life right now. Because of what I’ve experienced, what I’ve been through myself, I have a totally different perspective on suffering now. The darkness of my life gave way to the most beautiful dawn I could’ve ever known, and I responded by saying, “It’s quite possible you would’ve never known Him so intimately as you do now had you not suffered so. Some people live a lifetime of comfortable and never know God like you do.” My point? What’s better: To live life without being broken through pain and suffering and tragedy - to live comfortably while on this earth, with ease? Or to be broken and torn apart, and yet find you are most comfortable, most at home, in the bosom of God Himself? To find out who He really is. To be intimately acquainted with Him.
It’s always darkest just before dawn. Hope is here IN the darkness, and Hope is coming to bring you out of the darkness. God is doing a new thing - bringing the dawn. And in the meantime, while you’re still in the deep darkness, waiting for the dawn, you get more and more of God.
Andrew Murray talks about the blessed life that is waiting on the dawn in his book Waiting on God. He says, “What a blessed life the life of waiting becomes, the continual worship of faith, adoring, and trusting His goodness. As the soul learns its secret, every act or exercise of waiting becomes just a quiet entering into the goodness of God, to let it do its blessed work and satisfy our every need.” According to Andrew Murray, there is no sweeter, more fruitful, more satisfying place to be than in the darkness…waiting. It’s here the soul learns its secret: To be at home in the goodness of God.
Friend, if you’ve found yourself in the deep darkness, know that the dawn is coming. Newness is coming. And in the meantime, in that darkness, you have the greatest privilege of knowing the God of the universe more deeply and more intimately than ever before. This is a privilege. A privilege that many, many people on this earth will never have. I pray that you will find there is no sweeter, more fruitful, more satisfying place to be than in the darkness getting more and more of God as you wait for the dawn.
Friend, if you’ve found yourself in the deep darkness and you’re struggling to enjoy more and more of God in it, I’d love to help you. As a Christian Life Coach and Mentor, it would be my honor to help you navigate through this difficult time. It’s possible to be able to appreciate the privilege of finding intimacy with God in the darkness, and I’d like to show you how.
I’ve put a link in the show notes to my calendar to book at quick 30-minute chat to see if we’re a good fit to work together. Or you can visit my website tricizody.com and send me an email there.
Have a great week, friends! See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life podcast.