When Darkness Seems to Hide His Face

When Darkness Seems to Hide His Face

by Cathee Poulsen

I’m on my way back from the hospital. The sky’s as black as a moonless night and spikes of lightening fracture the darkness. It’s only 3 PM but I feel like I’m driving into midnight. In more ways than one.

“My son, Curtis. Curtis, my son.” Like David weeping over Absalom, my thoughts race with images of crushed and broken bones, a body slammed into the ground with such force it breaks a molar in half, 4th, 5th and 6th ribs cracked. So much misery and pain.

Sunday, June 3. Hours after motorcycle accident.

I’m racing against the oncoming storm to get to Publix before a bolt of lightning cracks open that inky thunderhead. I can relate to Noah hurrying the last animals into the ark. Curtis needs fresh vegetables, steamed and soft because chewing is nearly impossible.

The words of an old hymn break through my gloom and my thoughts shift a bit.

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

Haven’t thought of that hymn in years, but it comes to me now and as the words force their way into my thoughts of how long it will take Curtis to heal, and how  his family will survive with no income. I begin to dissect their meaning.

The dark sky outside seems a reflection of my mood and even though I’m filled with gratefulness that he’s alive and I’m not planning his funeral, I can’t seem to shake the bleak shadow dancing over my head. His face is hidden from me because of my thoughts.

Inside the grocery store I manage to find precut packages of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. I grab a container of prunes and pray they do their work, pay the checker, and dash back outside. The sky is grey now, but the clouds are not so ominous. The lightening has backed off and I stand there amazed. It’s going to pass by. The storm I dreaded isn’t even going to come. What?!

I rest on His unchanging grace. Can I rest in the midst of this? Is His unchanging grace enough to carry me through until the darkness passes?

The last line of that verse refers to Hebrews 6:19 NKJ

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,
and which enters the Presence behind the veil,
where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus…

It’s raining now, but not from the sky. “I’ve given you an anchor that will hold you steady in the stormy gale, Cathee. When you’re anchored to my Presence, the storm has no sway, no power over you. I’ve already entered behind the veil and when you remain rooted and grounded in Me, that hope is all you need. You haven’t gone this way before, but I have.”

I’m then reminded of an old favorite poem I’ve loved for decades in Streams in the Desert. It’s found in the April 1 reading. I’ve gone back to read it many times when I needed encouragement.

I Will Not Doubt
I will not doubt, tho’ all my ships at sea come
drifting home with broken masts and sails;
I will believe the hand which never fails,
from seeming evil worketh good for me.

And tho’ I weep because those sails are tattered,
still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered;
— I trust in Thee!

I will not doubt, tho’ all my prayers return
unanswered from the still, white realm above;
I will believe it is an all-wise love which has
refused the things for which I yearn;

And tho’ at times I cannot keep from grieving,
yet the pure ardor of my fixed believing,
— undimmed shall burn.

I will not doubt, tho’ sorrows fall like rain,
and troubles swarm like bees above a hive,
I will believe the heights for which I strive
are only reached by anguish and by pain;

And tho’ I groan and writhe beneath my crosses,
I yet shall see through my severest losses,
— the greater gain.

I will not doubt. Well anchored is this faith,
like some staunch ship, my soul braves every gale;
So strong its courage that it will not quail,
to breast the mighty unknown sea of death.
Oh, may I cry, tho’ body parts with spirit,
I do not doubt, so listening worlds may hear it
— with my last breath.

Annie Johnson Flint

As I read this poem — read it yourself several times out loud to really get the gist of it — I see it dovetails with the verse in Hebrews and my heart relaxes. Hasn’t He always been there for me? Worked together all the details? Seen me through the worst of storms and preserved all my children, miraculously in some cases?

I want to be known as someone who trusts God no matter what. Isn’t He worthy of that?

Sunday, June 10. One week later.

Curtis’ broken bones are already mending. That’s the beautiful, natural process of a healthy body. God built in the healing. His heart has been renewed by all the poured out love and I already see the beginning of countless blessings that will come from this seeming tragedy. Because that’s Who our God is. How could we ever expect less than the very best outcome?

If you’re reading this right now and a storm happens to be raging around you, know that I’ve already prayed that you grab that anchor of hope and ride out the squall. Many times it just dissipates all on its own.

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Comments

  1. We’re lucky to have a mama like you. Great writing.

    • Lynne Jones Lawler :

      Cathee,

      I am glad that Curtis is mending and we’re praying!
      I guess we all have “storms” of our own that teach us, mold us, break us and a loving Father who
      gently restores us.
      Thank you for the sweet reminder that God is the Master of the storm.
      Love you guys and miss you all~
      Lynne

  2. The above was supposed to be a heart. I’m not sure why the question marks. I was simply trying to say that I love your story and agree with Texas. Thank you for your heart and happy that your son is a miracle.

  3. Lynda Vincent :

    You are one of my greatest inspirations Cathee! I have always loved your faith. Oh what a blessed mama these children have! I have missed your blogs.

  4. jane barnard :

    Cathee………so well written, so well stated. I will share your story with others……so many hurting, crying hearts ….we need the reminding that Hes is our anchor of hope and ride out the hope.

  5. Cathee, I needed this so much today. I’m facing a horrible family situation back here in Alaska that is breaking my heart, I can’t share it with Wayne & I felt so alone . This so spoke to me this morning. Thank you, Linda

  6. G. Polly Jordan :

    Cathee, I am continually amazed at the trials the Lord allows you to endure. Perhaps it is because He is so pleased with your response. You inspire and motivate all of us. Praying for this situation.

  7. Cathee, I love how God sets us up so He can show off and change us at the same time. He is amazing! Love, Gary

  8. Ellis F. Naegele :

    Glory to God….your children, your whole family and your friends are growing their/our faith walk with the words you are always given. Curtis looks so alive and recovering well. Another miracle in your family’s life.
    Missing you!
    Ellis

  9. Dear Cathee,

    Thanks so much for sharing your godly insight in this tragedy. It reminded me of God’s loving care and goodness. James & I are facing challenges too. What you wrote, reminded me of who the Lord is, and how He can make good things come from bad. We must always remember to keep our eyes and our trust in Him.. I will continue to keep praying for Curtis. “PTL!” that he is doing so well.

  10. Betty Lesane :

    See how many lives you reach with your God given gift? What a blessing to us all. We need to be reminded of our Precious Anchor.

  11. Deborah Knight :

    Oh my gosh…praying for Curtis…and the whole family!!!!!!!

  12. Cathee, we are so sad that Curtis had suffered such injuries. With you all in thoughts and prayers. This is a beautiful reminder about getting grounded in dark times. He is always here with us. How long will he be hospitalized? Does he need anything?

  13. Praise the Lord that those beautiful words had been planted in your soul to sustain you through Curtis’ suffering . . . and not knowing the outcome. God is our bastion of strength but Curtis, being physically, spiritually and emotionally fit, survived and, hopefully, will be none the worse for wear in due time. I pray that the Lord will provide all Curtis’ and his family’s needs while he is set aside from working for awhile. I so often think of Texas’ accident and the long haul you and Bob endured just wondering if she would survive. God is good but it does not make suffering any less during all the traumas you’ve been through.

  14. Words beautifully spoken???

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