The author, Thomas Fuller, once wrote that the darkest hour was just before dawn. Just as the sun sets and rises on each new day, so are we confronted with different ‘nights’ in our lives. Sometimes they’re small. Maybe someone cut us off in traffic when we were running late. We forgot our coffee at home when we rushed out the door. Our favorite team lost. Other times, they’re big. Our bills are too high and our salary is too low. A relationship is suddenly broken. The doctor gives us the diagnosis that follows, “I’m afraid I have bad news.” In times like these, it’s hard to find God’s light through the darkness. We reach. We stumble. We often fall.
For this reason, I just want to express my gratitude for today. Thanks be to God, today is a good day. Today, the sun rose and I saw the dawn. For that, I am thankful. This morning, I woke up and no one in my family, not my wife, our three children, or myself had so much as a cold. For this, I am grateful. Right now, there is a roof over my head and food on my family’s table. My blessings are so great that my house even has running water and electricity. I have a car that I can drive anywhere I need to or want to go. I have friends. I have family. Above all else, I have the provider of all these blessings. I have the author of every moment of my life. I have God.
I write all of this not to boast, but because I recognize there are so many people in the world who are not as fortunate as I am. There are many who have spent countless tearful nights praying for a day like I just described, only to face more darkness. It is not fair. I have done nothing to deserve a good day. There is nothing special about me, and certainly there is not anything wrong with someone seemingly trapped in a cycle of darkness and misfortune. Most certainly of all, God does not love the blessed any more than he loves the oppressed.
To begin His public ministry, Jesus stood before the crowd in the synagogue in Galilee and quoted Isaiah, saying: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19) So, when we are blinded by the darkness surrounding us, when we are poor, when we are captives, when we are oppressed, where is Jesus? Is this not the question we are tempted to ask?
In the dawn and bright morning light, we must remember that there are those who face this difficult question. We must also remember that this question is only a blink of an eye away for us, as well. When life is good, we must remember to cherish these blessings God has given us. But, we must also remember that these blessings are a mere moment, whereas God is eternal. In the blessings He gives, we see the love of God, but we do not need to see His love for it to be there. It is always there, and it is all we need. When Thomas doubted Jesus’ resurrection and Jesus appeared in the flesh to make him believe, he told Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (John 20:29)
In short, we should thank God for the blessings in our lives. If we take the time, we will be amazed how surrounded we truly are with His gifts. In these gifts, we can see the love of God. But, let’s not mistake our blessings for the ultimate blessing. The daylight is here because we have God. Our families are here because we have God. Love is here because we have God. God is the gift that brings joy, peace, and comfort to our hearts. Nothing else. Only by recognizing this in the day can we tolerate the nights at their darkest. Because even when we are falling and unable to see God in the pitch black, He is there. We still have Him. And, as C.S. Lewis wrote: “He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only.”