Sometimes a dark night of the soul happens unexpectedly.
Maybe you lose a family member or friend and your heart is broken. Recently, in a seventy-two-hour period, I lost two family members and a dear friend. My heart literally ached from the pain I felt after getting the news of their passing.
Or perhaps you get some personal bad news from your doctor that rocks your world.
Those types of unforeseen challenges, and many others, often thrust you into a place you didn’t choose.
Occasionally, however, you make a choice that ends poorly. You may not have meant to, but it’s an idiotic personal decision or a bad business one that catapults you into a hole and a very dark place.
Yes, you are supposed to walk in the light, but if you’re human and you’re breathing, then the darkness of this world still surrounds you. That’s why it’s so easy to end up in a shadowy and dismal place.
I am all for world peace and happy thoughts but just flip on the news. It’s obvious that on this side of eternity, death, destruction, and darkness are everywhere.
All the time.
People we love more than our own life can die. (The older I get, the more that reality hits home.)
People we respect and admire can make really stupid choices.
People, like you and me, are just one bad decision away from disaster.
People we would do anything for sometimes end up fighting a battle with cancer and losing.
So, you ask, why all the doom and gloom?
Shouldn’t you be writing something to cheer me up, Bubna?
Wait for it…
It would be doom and gloom if we didn’t have hope.
It would be dungeons and dragons if we didn’t have an answer to our humanness.
It would be depressing if we had to focus only on the problems.
Stuff happens. We fail. We break. We slip.
We miss the mark with our thoughts, words, and actions.
All the time.
And like it or not (and I don't like it right now), everyone has an expiration day.
But that’s not the end of the story.
For Christ-followers, this life is just the practice round for eternity. Death here is a doorway to there.
And our last ridiculous decision as a leader or a human doesn’t define us. Our poorest choices don’t determine our value to God.
Our recent retreat into the backwaters of stupidity doesn’t need to mark us forever.
In fact, Jesus expects less perfection from you than you expect from you. (Check out John 2:24-25 if you think I’m wrong.)
So, what do we do?
And most of all, hang onto hope.
Please stop replaying the tapes of all your mistakes or all your losses. It doesn’t change what happened, and it will never change God’s view of you.
Here’s what you can do: Lean into the only One who is perfect and always near no matter what. Trust in the only One who will never give up on you.
Not even once.
A couple of thousands of years ago, Jesus was born into a dark place (a stable, probably more like a cave), put in a dark place after his death (a tomb), and yet darkness wasn’t the end of His story either.
Yes, I know, He was without sin, and we are not.
But the point is, if God can beat darkness and death, and He did, then there’s nothing that should send you into a hopeless tailspin.
So, walk with a limp and be willing to show your bruises. Stop pretending you’re more than you are and don’t be afraid to bleed publicly. And when your life doesn't make sense, fix your heart are the One who does.
If you are a leader, remember that leadership is influence. So please influence those around you with undefeatable hope in a God who is bigger than any darkness anyone will ever face.