As darkness covered the land in the middle of the day, life looked grim to the eleven men. Their hopes were dashed. They thought he would lead them to victory from the government. They believed he would bring them honor, fame and riches. But now, their master and leader, was dead. The one who promised freedom from tyranny had just been killed by the mob. Illegally tried and convicted, his life had been snuffed out at its peak. For his followers, life was indeed at its darkest hour.
The Black Chalk
As a chalk artist, I love to blend the soft pastels into a beautiful scene: rippling blue water, green meadows and trees sprinkled with multicolored wildflowers against a misty purple mountain background presents a breath-taking view. The scene is not quite complete, however, until the black chalk is applied. As swipes of darkness invade the canvas, it appears the picture will be destroyed. Instead of seeming destruction, the scene emerges more vividly, enhancing the minutest features, outlining the most important aspects. The dark shadows put character and dimension into the frame.
So it is with life. “It is always darkest before the dawn,” stated Thomas Fuller (1650). This old adage has traveled through the ages in hopes of helping those in the dregs of life. Some of the darkest, most troublesome times seem to crash down upon a person just before release breaks through. Dark times – loneliness, disease, death, divorce – can result in disappointment and pain, confusion or fear.
Then Came Sunday
Defeated, discouraged and disillusioned, the disciples ran and hid, and considered giving up all they had once believed in. Their Leader – the Son of God – was dead. Who else could they believe in? Then came Sunday: Easter morning dawned bright and clear with a message from two excited women who had just visited an empty tomb. “He is risen!” was their jubilant cry. Suddenly, everything changed. Hope arose once more. The spark of faith was ignited again. Victory was possible – Jesus won freedom over death and the grave! Life was worth living again.
Dark times are never exciting or pleasant. Uncertainty of the future can bring great stress and pain. Anguish and despair sets in and grips life in a stranglehold. Sometimes, however, the blackness is necessary in order to bring forth the Light of God’s goodness and mercy. God alone can use those bleak times to add character and strength. Blended with the whole spectrum of one’s life, the seasons of darkness can take on new meaning and beauty. Adding dimension and depth to your soul, you need not fear – even in the valley of the shadow of death – if you hold on.
Two choices are given: to give up in panic and despair and quit, or to trust in the all-knowing power of God and His wisdom Who knows all your tomorrows. You can be led to new hope and existence as you place the canvas of your life into the skillful hand of the Master Artist. He alone can create a priceless masterpiece of your life.
“I trust in You, O Lord; you are my God…my times are in your hand.” (Psalm 31:14,15)