Pathways through Lent

In the Darkness

Psalm 70 Isaiah 50:4–9a Hebrews 12:1–3 John 13:21–32

I associate Lent with darkness—because of the shorter days, because of Jesus’ last week, and because of what we are called to do during this time: reflect, sacrifice, repent.

Lent this year follows what for me has already been a dark time—when I could not believe in a God who sacrificed His own child and when my life seemed to depend on believing just that. In November last year, I was happily expecting our third child when, at four months pregnant, I miscarried. In that darkness, two threads keep me connected to God and to others.

God’s sacrifice and Jesus’ crucifixion, however unfathomable, mean that our God understands great pain. That God cries with us in our suffering. I realize that, even in my doubt, even as I shout Why? I am still asking God to help my unbelief, to incline His ear to me. Despite how distant I feel from God, this is a thread holding on to me.

The psalms also remind me that every human emotion, including my own desperation, has been felt before. Psalm 102 says I am sleepless, and I moan . . . and [I] mingle my drink with tears because . . . you lifted me up only to cast me down. That someone has borne these trials and lived these feelings, thousands of years ago and thousands of times before, brings me some solace. I am not alone.

And these threads of connection—however thin they sometimes feel—are enough.

–Alison McIntire

Photo by Neal Fowler
Photo by Neal Fowler
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2 thoughts on “In the Darkness”

  1. Alison, thanks for sharing this. I’ve not had the kind of tragedy in my life that you have, and I sometimes wonder if my faith would be shaken by misfortune. It helps to be reminded that God, having lived among us, is indisputably aware of human suffering.

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