Any early riser will agree that the darkest hour of the night is just before the sun peeks over the eastern horizon. The reality of that darkness and the pain and sorrow it surrounds touches all of us at some point. Lives full of joy and laughter are suddenly thrust into overwhelming darkness.
The night of weeping has lasted until dawn. The thought of ever knowing joy again seems far away. The strong and faithful have fallen under the weight and have pounded the tabletop as they cry out, “Why, God, why?”
Both the psalmist and Isaiah address the matter of God’s redemptive activity. Drawing on the Exodus event, the prophet alludes to God’s saving action in the past. God made a “way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters.” The prophet asks the people to hold that image in mind even as he asks them not to ”remember the former things.” For all of God’s mighty acts in the past, what’s coming is even bigger and better!
Just as the sun slices through the darkness and offers the hope of the new day, the scripture announces God’s new thing. Circumstances will change; situations will grow better. The road from the darkness of pain to the brightness of joy may be longer than we desire. The important matter at hand is that we see the road and take the journey. As hard as it may be, we must carry our faith as a cherished seedling. We water it with our tears, fertilize it with our pain, and let the love of God shine on us as we make the journey toward the dance of joy.

Be with us, God, on this journey from the darkest hours before dawn to the sunlight of joy that awaits us. Amen.

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