When The Light Goes Out: Part 1

Posted: February 25, 2020 in Meditations
man in black shirt and gray denim pants sitting on gray padded bench

Photo by Inzmam Khan on Pexels.com

I sat on a hill looking down upon a glistening lake, stunning cliffs of the box canyon enveloped it. It was summer, children squealed with delight in the shallows. Parents prepared picnic lunches. Lost and alone, death coursed my veins. Twenty-six years old, a new wife, a baby on the way, depression strangled me, I quit. Nobody knew where I was save for my sweet wife who sat next to me. Responsibilities at work, appointments, coworkers – they meant nothing to me in that moment. I couldn’t cry, couldn’t laugh, couldn’t do anything but sit and grieve wishing the world away.  I understood right from wrong, no crisis of faith, but I wallowed in brokenness not understanding how or why I now sat drowning in hopelessness. I needed help, I needed a miracle.

Thirty-nine years later, I sat in a cafe an hour before Sunday church services. I opened my journal and pulled out my phone to read Scripture. The app refused to open, no reception. I picked up my pen and prayed, “Lord give me a word. Speak through my pen in this journal” I began to write, “The pain of loneliness and depression attacks with the subtlety of a vice, the pressure builds, it never lets up. How do we deal with it? When and how do we break under the relentless onslaught of dread? Who knows the dark night of your soul? Where do we go to stem the pain? How do we recognize relief? What truly stands, that which is real, behind the cloud of emotion? What voices do you trust? What voices ring true? Please hear this, grab hold and do not let go. God is always here, no matter what. I am never alone; you are never alone. His angels assist, they protect and intervene. We have each other – will we risk full disclosure with a brother or a sister? Will we cry for help or suffer alone? None of us were created for isolation. Each of us is designed for relationship, created by and for God.” My food came, I set my journal aside. Time to eat and get myself to church.

Worship captured my heart immediately, hope in God, victory in battle, the way-maker through life’s challenges. Pastor Kevin wasn’t here this morning, Our old pastor, Russ Walker spoke. Russ left us after sixteen years to go to Texas five years ago. We all get excited when he comes back and today was no exception. “Life happens. Too often life exposes gaps between our expectations and what happens. We call that disappointment and sometimes that disappointment crushes us.” Russ paused, I could see him fight to smother sobs. He whispered, “2019 was the toughest year of my twenty-nine years of ministry.” I couldn’t believe I was hearing this. My journal entry encompassed the sermon that began to spill out of Pastor Russ’s mouth. Welcome to the transcendent world of the Christ follower.

Every one of us knows the press of disappointment. Some of us handle the vagaries of life better than others. But every one of you made a personal connection to my first paragraph. Your own painful memory flashed, a moment of disappointment, a season of depression. When my children voiced fears to their mother, Lynn quoted from Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Each of my four children memorized that verse and spoke it often. Godly mothers are a treasure. Job cried out, “Though you slay me, yet will I trust in you.”  Job 13:15  David wrote, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, For you are with me.”  Psalm 23:4  We have hope when all seems hopeless and we have a God who never leaves us nor forsakes us. Desperate faith, that’s all he needs. I will continue our story with Russ’s message in “When The Light Goes Out: Part 2”.


  1. John says:

    Thank you for sharing your inner life with us.

  2. I hope to encourage others, that in spite of my weakness, God is my strength, my way maker.

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