The Long Dark Night
And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. 2 Samuel 12:16
When at the bottom of my addiction, in the darkness of realizing that I had killed everything good in my life, it was difficult to see any light. The world was black, and hope was a joke. It was in that place that all I had to cling to was God.
King David knew this place. Having killed a man and taken his wife, God pronounced judgement and struck his newborn son with a life-threatening illness. In his grief, David fasted and laid on the ground for a week, begging God to save his son.
When God did not answer, and the child died, David had a choice. He could wallow in that place or he could pick himself up and turn his life around. Having followed his own way to destruction, he now repented. He could not see it then, but in changing his course, he turned towards light and life. Solomon, who would become David’s successor, was soon born to Bathsheba. God did not undo the death of David’s son, but He did grow new life when David repented.
This is the choice we have in the long dark night. We can wallow there, which many of us have done. Things will never get better. I might as well not even try to stop drinking. I might as well continue to overeat. I’ll never be able to stop . . .
Or, like David, when we suffer the loss of our own destructive behavior, we can pick ourselves up, repent and turn our lives to God. As it is in our self-reliance that we follow ourselves to destruction, God often uses that destruction to make us depend on Him. It is often only in the long dark night that we can see our desperate need.
The night does not last forever. When we see our need and repent, God leads us back into the light. This does not necessarily undo all the pain we have wrought, but God does grow a new, beautiful life when we follow Him.