There’s a spot, on the crest of a hill near my home, where the view stretches for kilometres. On a clear day, you feel as if you can see forever.
The beautiful Yarra Valley unfolds in shades of green as the scattered suburbs disappear into open fields and tracts of forests, merging into the distant mountain range.
By night it has a different beauty. Pinpoints of lights dot their way through the sweeping dark, but the really breathtaking sight comes on nights when there is a full moon. It is simply awe-inspiring to see the moon rise on the horizon, hovering like a huge yellow ball before it arcs its way through the sky, washing the valley with its muted light.
But the moon is not always a welcome sight. For those tossing and turning in their beds, that chink of light casting shadows on the bedroom wall is anything but comforting. Problems always loom larger at night when sleep is elusive and the mind is racing. As author F Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.”
Have you stood at your window, looking out at a world lit dimly by the moon, when your nightly companions are anxiety and fear? There’s no colour or warmth to the world in those dark hours.
Most of us will experience times like this. It’s an age-old situation, as old as biblical times when the psalmist David cried out to God in his despair.
But in the midst of his inner turmoil, God gave him a promise: “Tears may flow in the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30 verse 5)”.
God is assuring him that the night will end. And he gives us the same assurance—no matter how dark our night, no matter how many tears are shed over those long hours, morning will come for those who have faith in the God who loves us.
Faith may not change circumstances, but it helps us overcome them. Faith means we can take our anxieties to God in whatever way we can—in tears, anger, despair—and know he will listen.
Yes, the night can be long, but morning always comes and with it a new day of new possibilities.