“My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.” Psalm 130:6 [NASB]
It happened again in the depths of the darkness last night. Exactly the same as it has happened almost nightly for over six months now. Six months, not seven, because I was unable to sleep at night the first month after Sarah left. It happens most frequently between 2:30 and 2:40 AM. It’s as if Grief is an enormous bird of prey that recognizes the vulnerability of my desperately needed slumber, and opportunistically and violently strikes. I am jolted awake by its talons abruptly clutching my chest, piercing my heart and squeezing the breath from my lungs. Two thoughts join as one and instantaneously shock me with the impact: “the bus crashed” and “Sarah is gone.” Both ever present thoughts, undeniable realities, but in the depth of night, especially, completely incomprehensible. My mind races. I know it’s true. I have borne the months of pain that testify it’s true. Yet, somehow in the dark of night my shattered heart pulses with hope as it tries to convince me, “surely we have been deceived, it can not possibly be true!” My mind and my heart cry out against each other.
In the darkness of the night, seconds are as minutes, and minutes as hours. My mind replays memory after memory. I can feel her snuggled in the bed beside me. I can hear her sweet voice laughing and chatting away, recounting all the day’s events. I can smell her freshly washed hair. I can feel the bed shift slightly as she drapes herself across the edge next to me, begging me to rub her back, and delighting when I do. With each memory the talons tighten, the gripping pain becomes unbearable. My soul cries out with that of King David, “I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears. My eye has wasted away with grief” (Psalm 6:6-7a). The darkness of night prevails as the light of hope is shrouded by the blackness of despair.
I focus my mind to pray, hoping my heart and soul will soon follow. I cry out to God for mercy, compassion, comfort and grace. I intercede for my family and others. I meditate on and cling to the truths of His Word. Gradually, as minutes have ticked away to hours, the talons loosen. I can breathe again, though the pain of their gaping wound remains. I drift off to sleep. A couple of hours later my eyes open once again, this time absent the violence of the sudden strike. No need, the pressure of the grip and wound of the talons from a few hours before still remain as painful reminders. Light filters through the blinds on the windows as the sun has risen and I am confronted with the reality of yet another day without my precious child. Another day of mustering resolve to go through the day in a way that brings honor and glory to the Lord, and strengthens and supports my family. The sun has risen but Morning has not yet come.
Night remains as we trudge through the dark valley of the shadow of death. But Morning is coming. That glorious long awaited Morning is coming, as certain as the rising of the sun. We are told of that morning, “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall” Malachi 4:2 [NASB]. Oh, brokenhearted brothers and sisters, we must remind ourselves, “Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5b [NASB]. There is coming a dawn when we will joyously proclaim with all the saints, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” Psalm 30:11-12 [NASB].
On that glorious morning we will joyfully proclaim His lovingkindness. And through the remaining darkness of this night we will experience and boldly proclaim His faithfulness (Psalm 92:2). He absolutely is faithful, even in the darkest of nights. He is near to the brokenhearted, giving us His song to sustain us in the night (Psalms 34:18; 42:8). Our mighty yet gentle Shepherd beckons, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” Matthew 11:28-30 [NASB]. Surrendered to Him and empowered by His grace, I will persevere. I will expectantly fix my eyes on the The Good Shepherd, The Son of Righteousness, and follow wherever He leads, for it is He, One with The Father, alone “who changes deep darkness into morning” (Amos 5:8).
“He who testifies to these things says,
“Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen.
Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Revelation 22:20-21 [NASB]
Artwork: Sarah Harmening