The last night as a freshman in college, my friends and I decided to take a hike in the hills of Orange County. When you’re 19 years old, hiking in the dark seems like a good idea at 1 a.m.
I don’t remember all the details, except that what started out as fun ended with my sweaty hand gripping my friend’s palm for dear life. Tired and scared, I convinced myself that the images I could barely make out in the dark were wild animals waiting to eat us alive. A couple of guys who had confidently said that they had been on the hiking trail before eventually lost their confidence, leaving us with no choice but to walk aimlessly—a group of about eight trying to find our way back to our cars with two dimly lit flashlights. As a college student who always wanted a few more hours to sleep in, I don’t think I had ever wanted to see the sunrise so badly.
The sun rose. When it did, I saw the mountains and hills for what they were. What I believed to be menacing, moving objects were stationary trees and bushes.
Imagination tends to run wild when we’re left in the unknown.
Maybe you have felt like you were wandering in a dark and confusing place with no light and no direction. You know, it’s the illness, the death, the loss, the heartache, the child/house/school/dream you’ve been praying about. It’s the disappointments in life that make you feel alone, scared, and lost because you’re wondering where God is in all of these moments.
A few days ago we celebrated Easter. We celebrated life that conquers death. We celebrated victory over shame, guilt, fear, and hopelessness. There’s a lot of expectation before Easter. There’s the season of Lent so we’re reminded to prepare our hearts and minds for the big day and in case we forget about Lent we’re reminded of Easter with all the pastel wrapped chocolates in grocery stores. There’s all this build up before Easter. But what comes after? I wonder what good there is in observing Lent and celebrating Easter Sunday when we go back home, wake up Monday morning and nothing’s changed in our hearts.
Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.“
You know what this verse tells me? It tells me that God is in control and he knows what he’s doing. God doesn’t take us through dark places so that we’re stuck on a mountain, living our life in fear, trying to look over our back. God is a caring father. He is the most caring father. He doesn’t want to hurt or harm us. Life happens. Sometimes the periods of darkness may seem longer than others. But hold on. The light will come. Let’s remember that in the big picture, Jesus has conquered all darkness. God had a greater plan and Jesus had a greater vision than anyone could understand. Jesus came to bring hope. He brought the greatest hope of all. He conquered death so that we could be set free.
Hope is not for one day or one season out of the year.
So go ahead and hope. And when you feel like a failure or life has failed you, hope again. The sun will rise.
He already has.