Photo by Clayton Caldwell on Unsplash

Amy and I attended different universities while we were dating. Our schools were about six hours apart. As you can imagine we spent many hours driving between our respective campuses and neither of us ever wanted to leave. Too often we got much later starts on a Sunday than we would have liked. I had to park quite a distance from my residence hall and arriving home late at night required me to take a bit of walk in the pitch black. One thing I learned on those walks, was to never trust my eyes and ears. In the darkness your eyes and ears play nasty tricks on you, particularly if you have an active imagination. I can’t tell you the number of times that I jumped because of the shadow of a tree or the flapping of the wings of a bird.

I have been thinking about the darkness and the silence of Advent. I keep wrestling with the question of how could I maintain hope in the midst of the silence and waiting. What would it look like for me to be one of the people who were living “between the testaments”? Could I have held on to hope? Would I have had faith?

I honestly don’t know.

Today gave me a hint at how these men and women held on to their faith in the darkness.

In Psalm 16 there is a line that caught me off guard a bit. David writes,

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalm 16:7–8

Did you catch that bit where he says, “even at night…”?

I love that. He wrote this before there was electricity. Night was even more treacherous and scary than it is now. Night was a time of chaos.

When I was in Israel one of the things that I noticed was how dark the nights were. I don’t know if it was just the time of year, but the night felt like it stuck to you. The darkness was almost tangible.

Even at night, his heart would instruct him. Why? Because he praised the Lord.

Praise is powerful. In the darkness we can choose to praise our Lord. When we praise it makes it easier to trust. Praise gives us access to hope.

As we walk through the nights of our lives will we choose to praise?

Originally published at on December 7, 2018.