This article is for those who endured tough times in the past, anyone facing trials now, and people who may run into troubles in the future (frankly, that means everyone). This is a true personal story from the chapter in STEPS on “Dealing With Tough Times and Recovery.” I hope it provides encouragement and endurance for anyone who feels hopeless or lost in the dark of night …
I still remember the night times. In the darkness of early morning, I would wake to a feeling of dread. The next few hours would be clouded by fear and shame, with questions tossing in my head: “Why is this happening? What is going to happen to us? How can we turn things around?” I would pray over and over for answers and help that didn’t seem to come. Eventually, I would wearily drag myself out of bed to face another day. Once into the morning, I would feel better for a while. At least I was doing something; maybe things weren’t so hopeless after all. But, too soon, the night would come again.
My world had come apart one piece at a time. Over the last few years, our family had faced the blanket of depression and the emptiness of loss. Persistent money problems led into debilitating debt. We faced every parent’s nightmare as we saw our son being drawn deeper into darkness by the allure of alcohol and drugs. Drinking became an escape for my wife and me, but we both felt the sharp sting of guilt more than the high of alcohol. We wandered apart, and loneliness crept into what had been a happy marriage. Each day became a challenge, but night times were the worst. Hope seemed absent in the dark.
Years later, the fear and shame are gone. There are some fading scars, and we still have problems at times, but things are moving in the right direction. Now, I look forward to the nights, and they have become a time of refuge, thankfulness, and closeness with God. I sleep in peace knowing we are doing what we can. My nightly prayers have become a personal connection to God that is alive and invigorating. Hope has returned to the dark.
It didn’t happen over night, but God guided this journey out of darkness. Slowly, I learned to accept the release of surrender as God reminded me not to carry my burdens alone. I was gradually transformed as I let go of the guilt of past mistakes. Along the way, we were blessed by others who understood what we were going through.
Our trials led me to a deeper dependence on God than I had ever felt before. My faith was tested and strengthened, not through my own efforts but by the depth of God’s love. It seems that God does his best work when we need him the most. Now, I see progress anchored by prayer and contentment to live one day at a time. I am invigorated with an exciting sense of purpose and a renewed focus on serving others by helping them improve their lives and come closer to God. This story of hope is one I learned on my own journey from pain into promise: God is always with us, even in the dark of night.
When you have trials, will you have the tools and support system to deal with them effectively?
Action: Our family has tough times, even now, and perhaps yours does too. If you or someone you know is struggling, there is help in STEPS. If you need the book and the cost is preventing you from getting it, send me an email and I will mail you a free copy. Have hope and endure; you can get through this, and God will be there with you along the way.