It was Saturday, February 11th, I had just completed looking over my manuscript for my Sunday morning message in a series on The Family when one of my staff members informed me that she had heard of Whitney Houston’s passing. I immediately recalled several years ago when an ugly rumor of the same was spread only to be found, thankfully, not true. I immediately dismissed it because I had not heard anything from anyone else.
I then turned on CNN to see the caption “WHITNEY HOUSTON IS DEAD AT 48” and it seemed like in seconds that my phone rang with a member of the family calling me and that conversation confirmed the tragic news. I immediately began to pray for Cissy Houston, Bobbi Kristina, and the entire family.
After which, I picked up the phone and made the phone call that as pastors we oh so painfully have to make. Here I was, Cissy Houston’s pastor, making a phone call to let her know that we as a church attempt to measure the impact this was going to have on her and our church family.
It is not often that a leader has to make a phone call that will have global consequences. I knew at that moment that although the loss was deep for the family and The New Hope Baptist Church, there was going to be mourning and pain on an international scale. A cloud of darkness had covered not just Newark, NJ but the entire world.
What do you do in moments like this? What do you do when darkness comes?
I am reminded of one of my favorite scriptures 2 Chronicles 20 where King Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, was up against the armies of the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Assyrians and he prayed “Lord will you not judge them? For we have no mite against this great company. Neither we know now what to do. But our eyes are upon thee.” It is in moments like this, that when you don’t know what to do in your dark place, keep your eyes on the Lord. For no matter how dark your dark place is, you can always find the light of God.
I will go further to say “The darker your moment, the brighter the light of hope will shine.” One thing that we are reminded of at the loss of such a bright shining star is that in life, dark times will come.
In life, dark times will come …
I know we would like to believe that we can become spiritual enough, holy enough, or even good enough to avoid our dark places. But no matter how much we pray, praise, give, serve, we will have to confront our own personal darkness.
The prophet Moses became discouraged at the disobedience of the children of Israel. The prophet Elijah sat under a juniper tree and asked the Lord to take his life. The prophet Jonah suffered from depression. People who have been near and dear to God have had to confront their dark place.
Just like the common strain of DNA that binds every human-being together in one family, there is a common inevitable cloud of darkness that we must confront. So the question is “What are we going to do about it?” How do we address those deep dark moments of our lives? Some deny the darkness and say “it’s not dark, not it my life”, knowing full well they cannot see one step in front of them.
There are those that curse their darkness and act as if God and the world is out to get them. There are those that complain about their darkness and they hold personal sessions of mumbling and grumbling to bring attention to themselves and others on how dark their lives have become.
As mentioned before, King Jehoshaphat prayed in his darkness as his enemies surrounded him but it was God that reminded him that the battle is not yours, it’s the Lord’s. Just as King Jehoshaphat witnessed God fight for him and Judah, to defeat the Moabites, Ammonites, and the Assyrians, we too can see God pierce our darkness to let us know that He was there all the time.
The Christian hope is to trust in the one that can bring light to our dark place.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1