It is often said that the night is darkest before the dawn.

It is also said that,

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
Romans 5:8

As I write this, there is no sun outside my window. I am seated at my desk looking out over my neighborhood and the sky is gray, flat, and weary.

There is little life.

The leaves are gone.

The rose bushes are in hibernation.

The only light is the small desk lamp that is focused on my copy of the Scriptures.

The night is darkest before the dawn.

Could you imagine how dark it must have felt those days before the coming of the Christ? It had been 576 years since the promise of Jeremiah that the Christ would come. It had been 400 years since the last prophet, Malachi, had preached. The darkness must have felt unending.

One of my favorite books to read is The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. It’s the tale of a magical land, Narnia, that is trapped in an everlasting winter with no Christmas. Surely, this is what it must have felt like for the people of God from Malachi to Christ.

In one of David’s psalms, Psalm 31, he writes,

I will exult and rejoice in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have taken heed of my adversities.
Psalm 31:7

David, experienced and felt the love of God because he encountered God in his pain. Think about that for a moment.

It was not because he was without pain that he knew God loved him.

It was because in his pain he encountered God. This is completely opposite of how we often think of and understand our relationship with God.

Too often, when the night is darkest we doubt that God loves us. Yet, it is in the darkest night that God meets us in our pain because he is the one who will never leave us or forsake us.

We are in the midst of the darkness of Advent. There is great struggle as we wait. As we do, let us pray and reflect on these words from Psalm 31,

Love the LORD, all you his saints. The LORD preserves the faith, but abundantly repays the one who acts haughtily.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD.
Psalm 31:23–24

Originally published at on December 14, 2018.