For the first time in years, I had the opportunity to participate in the Camas Meadows Annual Ladies Retreat. During one of the sessions I was able to attend (I have 3 boys at home and so my attendance tends to be sporadic at best) the speaker was reading from I Samuel and the story of Hannah. We remember Hannah for her sacrifice and devotion and faith. But I was struck by the words used to describe her tale.
Would not Eat
Bitterness of Soul
Wept Much and Prayed
Look upon your servant’s Misery
Pouring out my Soul
My Great Anguish and Grief
So many times all we remember is the triumphal climax of this story. Hannah has a baby boy and she gives him to God. But Hannah experienced her Dark Night of the Soul as well. Many many dark nights in fact.
We had to say goodbye to our dear doggy Shamu this week. He has been beloved by our family and campers alike, for almost 12 years. And when you are in that moment of grief, weeping in the darkness, lost in the sadness and pain. It is hard to look at all the greats in the Bible and remember that they didn’t know how their stories would end.
They walked through darkness as well, but they trusted that God walked with them. Because that is what He has vowed to us. Not that our path will only contain butterflies and flowers, but that He is there, among us, in our ecstasy and in our grief. That He is God, whatever this world contains. That He is Lord, whatever pits and heights our tale must traverse. That He is love and the we are His. These are the things to which we can cling. These, these are truth.
John 16:33–“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”