Refuge in the darkness.
Author: Rosamond Bennett
You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
- Psalm 31:4.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.
- Lamentations 3:22-24.
Over the last few weeks, there has been a constant stream of tragedies on the news involving plane crashes, mass shootings, deaths of young people hoping for a good night out, disappearances of women and men only to find bodies days later, car crashes and two days ago the murder of Lyra McKee. Each of these deaths is a personal tragedy for the family and friends concerned. If you have ever suffered a bereavement, you will know what it is like after a night of fractured, restless sleep to wake up to immense and overwhelming feelings of darkness and despair as you remember what happened the day before.
I often think of what that Saturday was like so long ago for Jesus’s friends, family and followers. I think about their pain, their sorrow, their profound grief and their sense of disbelief about what happened. That their rock, their fortress, their teacher had been sentenced to death and they were powerless to stop it. I imagine how they relived the events of the previous day in their mind, still reeling from shock and struggling to accept that what they saw with their own eyes, did actually happen.
As a mother of three, I often think of Mary and what it must have been like for her to witness her son’s death and to see his precious life ebbing away before her eyes.
In my travels to South Sudan with Christian Aid, I have met several mothers whose children have died. I have seen their grief and suffering. I have listened to their stories and shared in their pain. They have felt powerless and helpless to control the circumstances they live in, being displaced from their home, living in constant fear and insecurity, never knowing where their next meal is coming from, feeling isolated and vulnerable. And yet they greeted me by singing hymns, holding up their wooden cross and giving thanks to the Lord for his goodness and mercy. I was humbled by their immense faith and the emotional strength it gave them.
These women showed me that even in the darkest times of their lives, when they needed help and support from Christian Aid’s partners to survive, Jesus was still their rock and fortress. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
So on this Saturday, I will still think of the darkness and despair after Jesus died. I will still think about Mary. But I know that Jesus gave his life for me, I know there is light and I know that even in the darkest days, especially in the darkest days, He will always be my refuge and I will hope in him.
teach us to take refuge in you when we are afraid and in despair,
Teach us that death is not our end,
That hope is always in you,
Rosamond Bennett is the CEO of Christian Aid Ireland. She joined in September 2012 after having worked in the corporate sector for 22 years. She is an elder in Whitehead Presbyterian Church, is married to Karl and has 3 teenage children.
Published on 20 April 2019