In our many years of living life together, Jan and I can speak with confidence (in the Lord) when it comes to navigating through the unexpected and fearful changes that life can bring. In the beginning, the challenging and unplanned interruptions in our lives felt as if we had entered a dark and ominous room without doors or windows. We did not know which way to turn. Our emotions were raw and frayed. Our future began to look like a train that jumped its track and was bouncing out of control across a dirt field and finally overturning.
The first time this happened to us, it felt like we had no options. In the middle of the fear and confusion, we decided our only option was worship. Hand in hand we walked into our bedroom and knelt down beside our bed and told God, in raw and honest terms, what we were feeling. Our hearts were broken. The plans we made had been crumpled up by dark hands and tossed away.
As we attempted to worship it was a challenge to find direction. Finally, without knowing which way to go with our worship, we began to worship God simply for His goodness. That one change in the substance of our worship began to direct our attention toward a life-altering discovery.
When we worshipped God for His goodness, a shift began to take place. Our fear, dismay, and uncertainty were replaced by a glimmer of hope in God, not in any change of our circumstance. Like faith, sometimes our hope can be as small as a mustard seed until it sprouts under the nurturing presence of worship and finally begins to grow. At that point, Jan and I began to turn all our focus onto that single seed and began to deposit each negative thought into a garden of faith where hope had a chance to grow. Today, whenever we encounter something negative in life, after the initial shock of the news, worship is our first response before we try to figure things out or take any action.
If you find yourself in the dark and desperate room of an unexpected life-transition, your only way out is to find the hope. Your seed of hope will be discovered when, in your desperation, you choose to shift your focus from the pain of the situation to the goodness of God through worship. Hope is always present in your darkest place. Never give up looking for it. Seek hope through worship and you will always find it.
Ever since that first painful experience, Jan and I have never entered a subsequent dark place without growing anticipation that somewhere in our pain hope was waiting to be discovered. If you can do this, at some point, a door will open in the darkness and hope will show you the way forward.