The Long Dark Night

The Long Dark Night

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. Exodus 14:21

When my son was 10 ½ months old, we welcomed our daughter into the world. Suddenly, we had two infants in the house and neither slept well. I remember knowing that it would eventually pass, but I also remember feeling as if we’d never get a normal night’s sleep again. Those were some long, seemingly endless nights. Trials are like that. I can know that it’s a minor trial that will eventually pass. I can know that others are suffering far worse trials than I am. The longest, hardest trial though, is usually the one I’m going through right now. During the trial, it feels like forever. Life, however, is a series of trials, most minor but some not so minor. So, in the long dark night of life’s trials, what do I do with my angst?

Today’s passage tells of one such long dark night. In the story, as the Israelites fled Egypt, they found themselves trapped between the Red Sea and the pursuing Egyptian army. In their despair, God caused a strong east wind to blow all night, miraculously parting the Red Sea. I’m sure, looking back on it, that it was a great story. But at the time, it must have been terrifying. Already trembling in fear of the pursuing Egyptian army, God’s people must have quaked as the wind began to howl. I’d bet that was a long, sleepless night as the Israelites wondered if their death was near. Even in fear though, they followed God, crossing the Red Sea on dry land. Yes, it was a long sleepless night. But they obeyed God and morning eventually came, bringing salvation with it. God used that long dark night, and the salvation of the coming day, to teach his people faith and obedience.

So, what do we do in the long dark night of our trials? Ultimately, we have two choices. We can wallow in our angst, trying to figure out our own way. Or we can take our worries to God, asking what he wants us to do. Often, most of us just pray for instant morning – for the trial to simply be removed. God though, usually desires to use the long dark night to shape us. Life is a series of trials. So, daily, the choice is up to us. Do we wallow in our anxiety, or do we take our trials to God, allowing him to shape us? We all go through long dark nights, but the coming day may look very different, depending on our response. Daily – and nightly – the choice is ours.

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