From Darkness to the Dawn

Chapel of the Apostles at Sewanee the University of the South.
Photo by Katie Rea

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.”

Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird.

This story was so personal to me, I was afraid to share it, but felt the call to do so.

Years ago, I felt as if hope was snuffed out and I was wading along in the dark. Metaphorically, the dark was an unknown tunnel I was walking through, and I could not see my way ahead; there was no light to guide me.

One day, I was walking a familiar path trying to expel the negative energy which encompassed me. Walking helped ease feelings of anxiety and depression, but on this day, even the walk was not helping. I had started to despair. I questioned my life choices, the mistakes I had made, and I started to question the type of future I could have, if I had one at all. I was at the last of my rope.

I started a prayer of contrition, a prayer which included fear and doubt. I was walking and praying. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my head yelling out. “Stop!” It was so loud, it startled me to submission. I stopped along a sidewalk across the street from where a new subdivision was in progress.

I looked around in case anyone was about. But there was no one close to me, just the construction workers way across the street. I wondered if it was one of the construction workers yelling stop. I started to take a step and I heard the “Stop” in my mind again. I waited; certain I was starting to crack in sanity.

 “What do you see?” The voice said, still loud. Nope. Not the construction workers.

Again, I was startled. I looked around again making sure no one was around me. I did not want anyone to witness me talking to myself. No one was around. I saw what the construction crew a distance away was doing and found myself saying aloud, “The construction crew is pouring the foundation for a new house.”

“Yes,” said the voice, “and as such you need to make the Lord your God your foundation. Remember the Scripture.”

Goosebumps hit me. I had been studying the over commercialized, but helpful verse of Jeremiah 29:11 and the words washed over me. I said the verse aloud, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Let God give you hope and a future. Make God the foundation in my life.  I needed this reminder desperately.

 At that moment, I saw the pinprick of light at the end of that long, dark tunnel. I felt hope. God did not automatically take any of the problems or circumstances away from me, but I felt seen, forgiven, and loved. I could see my way forward again. I walked through all the darkness of those events until I came to see the dawn.

I still do not know how to describe that moment, but it was so vivid and real to me. I was speaking with an angel, or it was my subconscious calling me to attention. I had not experienced anything like that before. I felt as if it was coming out of the Bible story all its own.

Regardless, after that moment, I found my footing. It was a life-changing moment for me.

The magic of the Bible is that the stories are not stories to be locked away in the past. God can use those verses to speak to us today. While we should always know the context in each story, there are times when a verse or story can truly impact our lives anew.

God acts in and through us all today. Not necessarily as dramatic, but a whisper, or a nudge, or good advice through other people. Or we read something, and we receive clarity. We get that “ah-ha” moment and suddenly we know what we are to do.

I honestly believe we should cling to hope and walk through the darkness until we can finally see the dawn. In darkness, we must keep on walking and not give up.

We need to make God our foundation. Allow God to give us hope and a future.

I hope sharing this experience gives hope to someone who may need it.

What is God saying to you today?

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Jeremiah 29:11

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2 responses to “From Darkness to the Dawn”

  1. Wonderful words!


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