Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Sun Still Shines

In the three years since Hurricane Katrina ripped through the New Orleans area, Gulf Coast residents have regarded the June-November hurricane season with greater-than-ever apprehension. Notwithstanding that 2006 and 2007 were relatively mild, talk of "increased hurricane activity in the face of global warming" continues.

Not that the weather has to unleash an all-out hurricane to cause disaster. Living in Houston for thirty-five years, I have waded through a fair number of floods caused by milder tropical storms, even by small-but-intense thunderstorms. Thankfully, the water has never come as high as my door; but more than once I have seen nearby streets overflowing to the sidewalk.

One characteristic of a really bad storm is the thickness and blackness of the clouds. Sometimes the midday visibility level falls as low as at night. And in all but the lightest rains, every car's headlights go on regardless of the hour.

There are times when one wishes that lighting up one's mood were as simple. Anyone who has ever wrestled with severe depression knows that "misery" is too mild a word for the overwhelming sense that the world is dark and hopeless. Sometimes there is an obvious cause--a death in the family, the loss of a job--but it is also possible to feel "absolutely nothing matters" with no logical reason. Cheering up from such deep depression takes more than flipping a switch (or popping a pill).

Even immersing ourselves in the true light of God's Word (cf. Ps. 119:105) may not be a "quick fix." Those of us in the computerized, high-speed world hate to wait, especially for things that make us feel good. But demanding that God cheer us up "immediately" is not likely to work any better than insisting He make the sun rise at 2 a.m.

But it always does rise--in His time. We need to perservere in prayer and Scriptural meditation through our dark hours, trusting that He will likewise bring light to our souls according to His own perfect schedule.

When the day is dark and wet with rain
And the world seems lost in endless gloom,
The sun still shines behind the clouds,
And will show again as the sky makes room.

When the night shows neither moon nor stars
And the world is lost to human sight,
The sun still shines around the world,
And will rise again with the morning light.

When all life seems dark with bleak despair
And all hope lost in a grim, dull daze,
God's Sun still shines to lead us on,
And will yet break through with His hope's bright rays.

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