Night Season

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Psalm 119:105

I listened to a familiar old hymn today and noticed the phrase “In the Night Season.” I used to think those words meant night-time. You know, when the sun went down and it was night. But today I realized the author of that song meant hard times, dark valleys, or total heartbreak.

It’s easy to praise God during shady days and cool, quiet nights. Happy times put a spring in the step, and we can’t imagine life any other way. For sure, God is so good He will get us through anything. 

But then hard times hit. The spouse calls it quits. The cancer is terminal. The accident victim dies. The fertility drugs don't work. Night Season has come like a dark enveloping shroud, leaving its’ victim sobbing or even screaming in anguish. Their breathing comes in choking gasps while they struggle to stand upright, and they stagger through the days that follow. Through the darkness of despair they acknowledge endless condolences, accepting sympathetic hugs. But even on the sunniest day it still feels like night.  
Sleep comes, but only for short hours, then silence fills the darkness.
There will be no more rest for the person struggling through their Night Season. Questions clutter their exhausted mind: “What now? Who will help me? What about the kids? How can I face another day?” No answers break the stillness in the room.
It’s the Night Season, and as days turn to weeks people go back to their job, their family, their lives. But the person suffering through their Night Season is left in the dark. It encompasses both the body and the soul in every sigh, every tasteless meal, and in more sleepless nights.
God’s Plan
During the worst Night Season of my life I read these words: “God allows hard times to bring glory to Himself.” I thought, “WHAT? How can that be? It’s so dark, how can this bring glory to God? I can’t move, I can’t stop crying, and the easiest decisions are too hard for me. I lose my sentences half-way through, wander aimlessly from room-to-room for hours at a time, and I can barely force myself to drink water, much less eat food. This can’t possibly be glorifying God.”
Yet I had to admit, I was always aware of God’s care and His presence.
When I forced my mind to turn toward God, I found He was right there, holding me while I wept against His chest. I wondered aloud how long this searing pain would last. No one offered pat answers. Instead they said, “It’s different for everyone.” That was no help. I wanted a time-line, something concrete to look forward to.
"The Lord your God...will quiet you with His love..." Zephaniah 3:17
But God had a different plan. Each day and then through the night, He assured me of His love and I became more aware of His presence than I ever had before.
As the days became weeks I saw that He was making a path before me. When I had no idea how I would make it around the next bend in life’s road I arrived to find that He had gone before me and taken care of the unknown details. Sometimes the sudden realization of His Presence ahead of me took my breath away. God was getting glory by showing Himself to me in ways that I had never seen before.

Small Things 


Dark times don’t only come when tragedy strikes. Sometimes discouragement and despondency arrive with a truck-load of small problems. The car breaks down, the kids get sick, the phone quits working, and someone is inexplicably rude. By itself, one of these events might be tolerated.


When they all arrive in a short time it is easy to ask God, “What in the world?”


Sometimes it is harder to trust Him during times of small inconveniences than it is during the big ones. After all, none of these small events are life threatening. Other people have it so much worse than we do, so why does it feel like the darkness is engulfing us?


It’s the Night Season.


Charles Spurgeon said: “I’ve learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages.”


Times of intense darkness force us to seek the only true Light to guide our way. God has promised He will never leave us or forsake us and He cannot fail, even when we don’t feel His presence. His Word is a light for us to follow—guiding the way through thick darkness.


Sometimes we don’t see that light, because we are too intent on the darkness. We can’t stop thinking about the problems or tragedy that has brought us to our Night Season.


That’s when we need to wait on the Lord. ‘Waiting’ is much more an attitude than it is a position. It’s a quiet expectancy, knowing that God has everything well planned and perfectly timed. That waiting is not frantic or edgy but is peaceful and trusting. It’s the time we shut off the TV and the phone while we pour out our heart before Him.


Shutting off noises and forcing ourselves to listen in the stillness is an intense act of the will. But the real Light for our life’s darkness is found in quiet consideration of God’s Word. “Be still and know that I am God.” We will hear Him when we stop to listen. We need to schedule God into our lives just as we would schedule a day off or dinner with friends. With careful consideration we will see where we can forgo other details in our lives, and spend that time instead reading the Bible and contemplating the love of our Heavenly Father.


I have waited quietly for God many times during my Night Seasons. He has always met me there and led me through the darkness. I know He will do the same for you.


"Some through the waters, some through the flood

Some through the fire, but all through the blood

Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song

In the night season and all the day long."

George A. Young~19th Century.

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