What do you do when the “silver lining” can’t be seen?

Thunderclouds-3I named this blog “theology meets life” long ago because I believe our theology—our study about God—isn’t “real” until it is tested in the crucible of life.  It’s one thing, for example, to say “God is in control” (a simple way of saying, “God is sovereign”), but it’s another thing to be going through the “the darkest valley” (Psalm 23:4) and say, “God is in control”.

How does your view of God change when the silver lining on the thunderclouds bringing rain, hail, and lightning is invisible?  When your world is falling apart, what do believe about God then?

And what happens when that deep, dark storm rages for a long time?  Maybe it’s howled and roared for months.  A year?  Maybe your entire life has been marked by one dark cloud after another and the silver lining of hope is more of a twisted tease than a symbol of trust.

As we return (and conclude) Psalm 88 from two weeks ago, we read this in verses 13-18:

But I cry to you for help, Lord;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Why, Lord, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?
From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend.

Reading these words don’t give us much hope, do they?  After all, the author writes of suffering from his youth and being in despair.  Wrath and terror surrounded him and friends have walked away from him.  Only darkness remains.

Some of you reading this are there right now.  You know that not all scripts have happy endings.

But even in those times; you must not give up hope.  You must allow yourself to submit to the temptation to curse God.  You must continue to live the way He has called you to live and experience His renewal not by calming the storm, but by calming you.

Sometimes, the storm will roar.  The hail will pound our lives.  The lightning will remind us how small we are compared to our trouble.

It is in those seasons—especially then—we recall the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:6:

“…Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”