Beauty in Dark Times


by Rebecca McCallister

These are dark times, aren’t they? Most of us haven’t experienced anything like this coronavirus and the complete upheaval it’s causing in our lifetimes. And beyond the inconveniences of sheltering in place or not finding toilet paper, there is serious fear and uncertainty, real suffering, devastation, loss, and death.

There are many things we could talk about as believers in the midst of this: God’s sovereignty in all situations (it is still true), the need to have faith and not worry (a perennial prayer) and the urgency for those of us with more than enough to share with those in need. Yes, yes, and yes. We need to let all three of these realities guide our hearts and actions.

But here’s another one: make the time count. It’s one thing to appreciate clear skies and benevolent, care-free times . . . that’s beauty sitting on the surface, like a flower, easy to pick.

Being able to see beauty in dark times, however – well, that’s God’s domain. It’s not that He will just “get us through this” or help us endure. He can fill every dark moment with His light, infuse His resurrection goodness into the very shroud of heavy uncertainty and fear. He can show us the beautiful gifts of Today, like pointing out rare seashells as we walk hand in hand with him on the shoreline of this season. It’s not that, “this, too, shall pass.” It’s that Today is pregnant with all the possibilities of God, if we have eyes to see.

It reminds me of when my husband and I were fighting his cancer; the hospital was a second home for us. Sometimes he’d quietly say, “I feel like we’re wasting our lives in this hospital room.” And I would hear it and breathe in the deep disappointment. I felt it, too. But then I would reply, “Honey, this is our life. We have the same number of moments in the day as anyone else. It’s up to us not to waste them.” So, we would snuggle together on the hospital bed and watch movies, take extra laps around the nurses’ station, plan our next trip when we’d finally get out of there. We said, “I love you,” and sat together in that solitary place. We opened our eyes and found God right where we were. We dug deep into the black coal of our circumstances and pulled out some gems. And these gems remain in my knapsack of precious memories now that Scott has gone to be with God. What gifts they are to me now . . . how thankful I am that we let ourselves find the beauty of Today.

Let’s make this time count. Let’s find beauty in the ashes of whatever we’re going through individually or collectively. “May God, the source of hope, fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, New Living Translation)