The Catholic Letter

Tips and Tricks to Living a Christian Life

Struggling in Dark Times

If You're Struggling With Dark Times Then Cheer Up

I was watching Dale Ahlquist, President of The American Chesterton Society, last night when something occurred to me.  He was talking about the fact that preumption, not despair, is the opposite of hope.  The idea is that we can only have hope when things seem bleak.  And if we're not worried about something, we're living in bliss, not hopefulness.

This bliss is something that dominates most of our society today.  Americans have made it their business to make everything as safe as possible.  We've also invented backup plans for when something does go wrong (insurance).  We shell out billions of dollars to create a society protected against crime and terrorism.  We make health more important than healing.  And all of this has created a society without hope.

You see, hope can only be present when things seem hopeless.  If we get too used to our safety nets, we end up forgetting how to hope.  We become oblivious to all the things that are going wrong.  And by the time we are finally forced to face misfortune, we find despair is much easier than hope.

It also occurred to me that the dark economic times ahead of us (and for some of us, the ones we're already facing) are really an opportunity for God to work in our lives.  He's showing us where the light is, so that we won't lose it.

When you light a candle in the middle of the day, you could go about your business and pretty much forget you ever lit it.  But as the light of day fades, that candle seems to grow stronger.  And by night, you find out that it has a lot more strength than you first supposed.

But if you're using your house lights, you'll never see that candle's strength.  And by the time your electric gets shut off, that candle may have burnt out.  You'll have forgotten where it was and how to use it.

So if things are looking dark for you right now, put your trust in the candle of hope... not in the blissful electric lights.  The light you find in God is eternal, and will never go out.  The false lights created by man rely on man, and man has a bad habit of failing.