Sunday morning the black cloud that had been over my head like the dust cloud over the Peanuts character “Pigpen” finally settled on my shoulders. It has been threatening to enshroud me for a few months during this season of testing. One hard circumstance comes on the heels of another. And although My personality element is wind and I’ve been about to rise above the trials, that morning it seemed all the oxygen was gone.
Neal and I arrived at the church building ten minutes late and found a pitch black sanctuary. I was told the electricity had gone out a couple hours earlier. Candles were burning all over the platform. An usher used a flashlight and found us a seat, just like at the movies. I started to suggest to my husband, “let’s just go home.” But we were already dressed and there.
It was uncomfortable sitting in the dark. I felt like we were in the catacombs. Only it was hot. No air conditioning. In fact there was no microphones, no praise band, no overhead with the lyrics to sing—nothing but dark. Our worship leader, Greg, led us in singing old familiar hymns and Pastor Steve played the piano. Immediately I felt ashamed of my grousing spirit. At least the pews were padded. How spoiled had I become anyway?
My eyes began to adjust to the dark and I saw the people around me worshiping, their faces illuminated by the small flickering flames. The old hymns, all penned by their authors during trials, ministered to my hurting heart. The darkness hid anything that could distract me and I finally relaxed and began to worship. The breath of God returned the oxygen to my spirit.
We have a little chorus we sing after the last stanza of Amazing Grace. It is simply singing Praise God to the same tune. Greg led us in Amazing Grace, and I lifted my hands in thanksgiving and submission to our amazing God. Then came time for the “extra” chorus. The second the word “Praise” came out of our mouths the lights in the sanctuary blazed on. It was an incredible experience.
I believe that morning was the Holy Spirit’s object lesson. So often, lately, I’ve felt “in the dark” and have had to follow close to a tiny candle flame. But then the eyes of my soul adjusted and I saw Jesus in my circumstance. He kept me from stumbling.
Sunday morning was a reminder that at the appointed time the lights will burst in brilliant glory. But until then, like is says in the Psalms, “even in darkness, light dawns for the righteous.”