It is said that the darkest hour is the one before dawn, and how welcome is the emerging light of the sun as it begins its journey to the peak of noon on yet another day. Yet the darkest hour often seems so long and forbidding, not just in a physical sense but also in the experiences of life’s journey. So many have felt their burdens, tragedies, and disappointments in the darkest hour. Fears, depression, nervousness, and even mental illness appear more intense. We yearn for those streams of golden light on life’s horizon to comfort, assure us and answer the questions that besiege our troubled minds.
How can we cope with enduring whatever besets us in the darkest hour? There is only one real answer and that is found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nobody, however, should think that Christ is the instigator of any ‘easy fix’, or the performer of a string of instant miracles to generate a happy, carefree roller-coaster ride of emotionally charged experience. The subject of the darkest hour is a very serious and sobering one, that should never be treated lightly.
How many on the pages of the scriptures have experienced the darkest hour in their lives? Some of the most faithful knew very well what the darkest hour meant. Job, a man who lived in ancient times, whom the scriptures describe as perfect, upright, despising evil and fearing God, came to face the devastating loss of family and wealth. Noah, the preacher of righteousness, faced the continual rejection of his preaching and ridicule from the ungodly for years as he built the ark. Jonah, who was running away from the work God had given him, experienced the utter loneliness and horror of being in the belly of the great fish. The Apostle Paul so often lived through many dark hours in which he overcame so much.1
In spiritual terms, however, the darkest hour can be the learning sanctuary whereby we come to discover the character, ways, and sovereignty of God. The darkest hour is when we come face to face with the realities of life, the weakness of our humanity, the hopelessness of men’s ideas, and the sole need of divine help. We must be honest with God; He never fails to be so with us. There must be no feeble excuses but a heartfelt desire to seek the help, comfort, compassion, grace, love, and mercy from the One who has an unlimited store of such precious blessings. Often, we quote, ‘he careth for you’, but to live in the experience of such a momentous statement of truth and assurance in the darkest hour; how rich that is, 1 Pet. 5. 7.
We may be driven to our knees in the darkest hour, tears flowing in a sense of loneliness and despair. Yet amidst it all there is access to the throne of grace. There is the One who never sleeps, the ever-open ear to the most distraught, weak cry of a soul pleading for help in the darkest hour; and a loving heart that delights to answer, ‘You are not alone. I am with you, I will hold your hand’, and ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’, Heb. 13. 5. This is no helpline that we hope someone, in a faraway place, will be there at the other end, someone who just might help.
In the book of Hebrews, the writer presents four thrones. The first, in chapter 1 verse 8, reveals the Lord Jesus Christ upon the throne of eternity as the Son of God. In chapter 8 verse 1, there is the throne of majestic authority for Christ, our great High Priest and minister of the sanctuary. The third throne, in chapter 12 verse 2, is the throne of God, with Christ at the right hand. Then, with these three thrones, stands the throne of grace, 4. 16, all together on the same holy ground of divine, unchanging, eternal supremacy, for the throne of grace is no backwater of heaven. Its value is beyond measure. So, praise His name, by the finished work of Christ at Calvary, every saved soul, whoever they are, has been told to come boldly, not timidly, to find help in time of need. Here, with help, mercy is to be obtained and grace is to be found. Whatever the situation, the need, the heartache, the disappointment, there is help.
This is the unfailing answer to the burdens of the darkest hour. No need is too insignificant or too great, help is available from the highest authority in all heaven. The lovely Lord Jesus Christ looks in His love upon the dear one so distressed, anxious, and exhausted. He is there with the everlasting arms, the blessed assurance of His presence, and His unique undivided attention for any of the redeemed. Even His silence is as powerful as His actions. There are caring, gracious hearts of those believers who will do all to help in the darkest hour, that are a great blessing, but there is nothing to compare with the ‘secret place’, unburdening the soul, before the One who loves you and me with an everlasting love.
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