Dark Cages

Acknowledgement of our need of God and reliance upon Him will not always rid us of life's pressures, will not always remove from us the difficult situations, the dark cage within which we sometimes find ourselves trapped. We shall not always escape the pressures of life and the dark situations which they bring. But we can, with God, withstand them and find resources for enduring them even when they, for the time being, do not let up.

If we, who are caged within some darkness and are frantic with fear that our situation is hopeless, would only believe, we would know that our heavenly Father is close by to still our fears and to strengthen us for the ordeal through which we are passing. We would know that He is constantly saying to us: "Don't be afraid; just believe."

But how workable is this formula for confident and victorious living in our daily existence? As we journey along the way of the Cross, we cannot avoid the central fact of faith and trust and its confirmation in Christian experience. The central fact is Christ Jesus our Lord. His event in history showed man his highest possibilities. It pointed us to life's deepest and inexhaustible resources for living through and independent of any set of circumstances. It provided us with a firm basis for the Christian belief that our sufferings, temptations, and perplexities, even the hard and oftentimes sudden demands of life, are fully understood and shared by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Through Christ, we have access to an open door of grace and comfort and victory over life's greatest, sometimes unyielding pressures. Freedom from the dark cage of hard times may not happen as a result of our serious thinking or maneuvering, our hardest effort or our best skill, but the key of divine grace and help remains within our reach. All we need to do is pick it up, unlock the cage door, and walk out in the freedom of God's amazing grace.

Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. http://www.clergyservices4u.org. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, will be available soon.

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