In the place of darkness it is often very difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel. To be consumed by darkness is a terrible thing – yet even in our darkest hour the music of hope can be heard in the background if we strain to listen.
Perhaps the Psalm that most closely prefigures the suffering of Jesus on the cross is Psalm 22. It has long been regarded as a Messianic Psalm. The very first verse is one which expresses intense suffering and feelings of abandonment –
‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.’
And yet the music to which this Psalm was set in ancient Israel – and which was mandated to be used when it was sung, is entitled – ‘Doe of the Dawn’. That Jesus knew this is without doubt – and in his darkest hour of suffering on the cross, as he contemplated his apparent abandonment, as he is mocked and despised and as his life is ‘poured out like water’ (Psalm 22), the theme tune underneath it all is ‘Doe of the Dawn’. The picture we have in the words chosen for this music are those of freedom (Eg. Genesis 49:21) and hope (Eg. 2 Peter 1:19).
And yet we cannot consider the darkness of the cross without seeing it in the light of resurrection. We often say that the darkest hour is just before the dawn – and I believe that is so often the case.
For many our hope is that the darkness of our illness and pain will soon be replaced by the light of healing and wholeness. For those of us in dire financial straits – a betterment in our financial situation. For those of us struggling with relationship issues – restoration. And so our list could go on. And these are all, of course, entirely legitimate hopes and longings.
But some today may be facing a darkness they are afraid will not improve in this life. The astounding good news is that hope does not end with death! Resurrection is promised!
The apostle Paul, writing to a group of people who were struggling with the issue said this –
‘If the only benefit of our hope in Christ is limited to this life on earth, we deserve to be pitied more than all others! But the truth is, Christ is risen from the dead, as the first fruit of a great resurrection harvest of those who have died.’
1 Corinthians 15: 19&20 (TPT)
So in your darkness please take courage. In your darkness please try and listen out for the theme music of hope. In your darkness please dare to believe in The Light.
The doe will be set free – the dawn will come!