When the Darkness Deepens and Bad News Batters: Maybe There’s a Rainbow.

I grabbed my gratitude journal, the one I had been neglecting for the last few days, stuck in a funk, and, almost immediately, I put it right back.

The journal inside of a devotional explaining the importance of giving regular thanks. But in this moment all I can think is, what should I be thankful for? Mass shootings? A friend’s dad being taken too soon? Honeymoons turned nightmares? I leave the journal on my nightstand. Make a different mental list.

Another day of neglecting the spiritual discipline of peeling my eyes open to find the good.

My prayer journal, chaotic- “Lord, there’s too much pain. Please make it stop.”

A week where depression pressed heavier, and a week that seemed to bring relentless bad news. Lies of depression feeling validated with each crushing piece of information.

Sometimes it’s harder to shake. Serotonin a stranger, and sadness sticks. I look around and feel like the language of beauty has become foreign to me. The good is muffled, suffocated, but the darkness glares.

Where do we go when there’s so much brokenness it could break you? When the aching and groaning of all creation is echoing in your soul, and you’re perpetually lamenting, and can see no way out?

The key is not in the going. It’s in the waiting.

We wait.

Psalm 27:14, Isaiah 40:31, and so many other passages tell us one of the hardest things to do- wait. Wait on the Lord. We are in the “groaning and aching” of Romans 8:22, but in the very next verse we are reminded why- we “long” for “release” and so we “wait” (Romans 8:23).

But the verse continues, the how of our wait, “with eager hope.”

With hope, we wait. And how could we not be eager, as the evil crouches and time ticks and the ticking time bomb of sin near explodes?

I remember last year, when they took me out in a tarp, one of the most terrifying moments for me.

It wasn’t when I knew I was dying.

It was when I realized I wasn’t.

When I realized I would make it, and would live, and would have to live here, would have to live with the reality of this.

This, this broken world that had just slapped me again and again, and had revealed yet another side of its ugliness I was reeling against.

How would I live with the weight of these wounds? How would I live with having to face trauma again? How would I live with the fear of what this place can do?

You can only live by waiting.

I look back and see, it’s been a season of waiting, and in many ways I’m still there. Still waiting, waiting to see, waiting to heal, waiting for the Lord.

Time keeps ticking and I’m in my dining room, in my funk, waiting for it to pass, waiting for Him, and I put on praise music. I don’t feel like it, but I put it on and hope the beat beats the despair right out of me. I dance with children and choose to praise, but the heaviness hangs and it is, this praise, a choice.

The music ends and I’m left the same, and I must keep waiting.

Days continue and it’s storming outside. My son with his 7 year old anxiety comes to me afraid. Mommy, the neighbors are outside looking at the sky and I think something must be very wrong with this storm!

I look at him, and suddenly realize, “Maybe there’s a rainbow!”

And he burst into smile and we burst out the door and neighbors greet us with glee- “There’s a rainbow!” Everyone is happy and cameras are out and for a moment there’s not one, there’s even two, a double rainbow in this darkened sky above this wet and pummeled earth. We look up and we can see.

It’s a gift, this moment, this grace, after a dark and battered stretch. Where I look around and cannot see, cannot see the light, cannot see the hope. But we look up and we can see, it’s there, the light and hope, and all beauty found in every last promise that He will surely keep.

It’s enough, this reminder, this manna, to keep going and keep waiting and keep trusting. To lift the darkness for even this bit, and as always God shows me how He will get me out of this.

The color fades, we go back inside, back to life. But clutching this beauty in our hearts still and clutching the reminder- He promises. And He always keeps His promises.

The days keep coming, and more bad news rolls in, and evil abounds. When I look around, I despair. And when I look within, I recoil. All this evil in the world, but what kind of child of His cannot even faithfully give thanks?

I cannot look around and I cannot gaze within and expect to find any shred of hope or ability. It is only by looking up, only by gazing at the heavens and beholding the beauty of the Almighty God that then, and only then, my soul can rest and heart can hope and mind can ease. Because no matter the storm, I know there is always a rainbow, though it may veil itself of color, but there is always His promises.

And so I groan. And I ache. And I wait.

I gaze upward.

And I hope.

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