Rising in the Night: Doing Our Part Despite the Surrounding Darkness
A few years ago, my husband and I were roused in the middle of the night by the sound of our dog barking furiously at the front door and a man shouting at us from our gate. It turns out, our chicken coop was on fire from a heat lamp that had gotten knocked down. Thus, barefoot and shirtless, my husband ran across our gravel yard in the middle of the cold winter’s night to hose down our flaming coop.
But that wasn’t the craziest part of that night.
To me, the most memorable part of that incident was the fact that, while all the other eleven chickens ran as far away from their home as they could during that fire, one lone chicken had hunkered down in the corner of the coop, trying to protect a little clutch of eggs whom she was hoping would hatch one day. Through the fire and through the 40-minute water-dousing from my husband, that chicken remained in her little nesting box, covering up those eggs. As a matter of fact, she was so still in there, we assumed she had died. Yet, despite all the heat and the flames and the smoke and the gallons of water poured all over her, that brave hen ended up being just fine. Although the eggs were charred and inedible after it all (which was okay because they were never going to become baby chicks anyway since we don’t have a rooster to fertilize them), that chicken ended up living a long, productive life after all. She went on to lay hundreds more eggs and, a few months after the fire, when the coop was repaired and she still showed signs of wanting to become a mama, we bought some day-old baby chicks for her to raise.
That night I learned that no matter what, no matter how dark or cold or scary or hopeless the night and its challenges might be, no matter how hot the flames of persecution get or how long the night might seem or how drenched in sorrow we might become… if we keep holding on and doing what we were created to do— LOVE the ones in our sphere of influence— we will make it through. We may come out scarred and life may not look the way we originally thought it would or should, but we will get through it and, hopefully, become stronger and wiser as a result of it all.
Which brings me to today:
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but there is a lot of darkness and chaos and hardship in this world we live in. Across the globe, there are atrocities happening: women and children are being captured and their bodies are used in sex slavery, young men who have committed their lives to rival gangs are killing one another, dreams and futures are being tossed aside as addiction takes over minds and bodies, spouses are being disrespectful and disloyal to one another, hate crimes are abounding, relationships are breaking apart, and people are starving. And, on top of this, people of every ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status are slinging hate and blame at one another as though any of that will actually solve any of the problems at hand.
If ever there was a dark night it is now.
The ancient biblical prophet Isaiah once wrote, “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples…” (Isaiah 60:2). (Yes, that sounds familiar. Go on Isaiah…)
BUT, you guys… the prophet continues: “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.”
Even when my situation seems hopeless. Even when it seems like things can’t get any worse but then they somehow find a way to get worse. Even when babies die and people starve and children are violated and teens run away and mothers have to watch their sons battle cancer and crazy people shoot up night clubs and innocent people are robbed of life.
Even in challenges that dark. Even in nights that long and scary and uncertain: Jesus rises up and shines His light and His goodness and His help and even His glory on us.
And do you know what else? He raises us up too. In Proverbs 31:15, we read that the woman of noble character “rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.”
So we’ve got a job to do here as well: rise and provide.
Nighttime is often scary and disorienting and sometimes it even seems to be never-ending. Yet, even in places like that— places and seasons wherein we can’t see clearly and when darkness and evil seem to be lurking around every corner— we are called to rise up (even though it is nighttime!) and “provide food” and comfort and hope and encouragement for our families and for the folks in our communities and for those who are grieving and broken and lacking a defender.
Even when the world is in chaos, and there is darkness and corruption and evil all over the place— LET US RISE UP, desperately clinging to God and His truth and His strength. And let us do whatever we can, however small or simple it might seem, to provide help and comfort and encouragement and support and light to those who need it.
Let us hunker down, faces set on God, the only One who truly has the power to change hearts and minds, and let us pray our guts out.
Though it is a dark night, fraught with terrible dangers, and though it may seem insurmountable or hopeless: LET US RISE.
And let us live God-focused, fruitful lives for the rest of our days, blessing every life we come in contact with— however we are able to do so— between now and eternity.
Will you rise with me?
[[This is Part One of a (probably) 5-part series stemming from several things God has been teaching me over the past few months. Stay tuned for Part 2: Rising with Hope, a reminder that, despite our circumstances, we must cling to the unchanging, unfailing truth that God is with us every step of our lives.]]
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What about you?
Have you ever felt the inclination to keep holding onto Hope and Faith despite the fact that the challenges you faced seemed insurmountable, the world around you seemed to be crumbling… and then, on the other side of that challenge, you realized you actually could— and did!— make it through after all? If that hasn’t been your reality yet, let me ask you this: how can I be praying for you today?
Please share your journey in the comment section below.