I sat huddled at my desk, face pressed into palms supported by elbows propped on desktop, staring into the darkness of my own hands…feeling the darkness pressing in from all sides.
The work day was ended. It was time to go home, a brief ten minute walk from the office. Yet, I lingered, dreading home…knowing the unfixable problems waiting there…praying that God would show me what to do.
My four beautiful children waited at home, bright lights in my life, who I was always pleased to see. But their mother also waited there, with a cartful of unsolvable issues to add to my already overburdened load.
It was the summer of 1994, and my wife had recently announced her intention to leave our marriage of ten years. She said she didn’t love me anymore…wasn’t sure she ever truly had…now she was pursuing a relationship with someone else.
How had it come to this? How had all the bright hopes, dreams, visions, plans, work, counseling and prayers come to such dark and desolate fruition as this?
It wasn’t the first time our marriage had floundered…but it was the first time the situation appeared hopeless…the first time I knew I had done all I could do and been found insufficient to resolving the problems.
The word divorce shouldn’t even be in a Christian’s vocabulary!
God hates divorce!
The words of a former pastor rang loud in my ears, as I clenched my eyes closed…trying to shut out the darkness pressing in on all sides.
Remember the statistics of problems for children raised in broken homes!
The best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.
As the authoritative words of trusted men swirled through my mind, I began adding my own to the cacophony of accusations.
Some Christian you are! Where is your faith now? What a failure!
The oppressive darkness closed thick and heavy, pressing down upon me, crushing my soul.
Jesus, help me!
Tears spilling down my face, I cried out to God for help I didn’t really expect to receive, but desperately needed.
I thought I was all alone, that everyone else had gone for the day. Yet someone was rapping lightly on my office door. Reaching for a tissue, I quickly dried my eyes and composed myself. “Come in,” I called softly, not quite trusting my voice not to crack.
The door swung open as Rob shyly stepped inside my office. Rob was a quiet young man who worked for me, in the Engineering Department. Although I didn’t know Rob well, I respected him as both a cheerful worker and a brother in Christ.
Hesitantly, Rob handed me a typed sheet of paper.
I felt God telling me to give this to you. It’s a poem I wrote a few days ago, after seeing you sitting in your office looking burdened…like you are now.
I read the poem… about crawling through a tunnel of confused swirling darkness searching for light…about Jesus leading and guiding us throughout the journey…leading us into the light of His love and hope.
I read the poem, and, with tears again running down my face, I hugged Rob, thanking him for his beautiful gift…the gift of light in the midst of darkness!
I walked home that evening with a lighter step than I had for many days. My circumstances had not changed, but the oppressive darkness had been lifted by the light of God’s love and hope.
One small act of kindness can make a world of difference!
Lord, please use me in the lives of others the way you used Rob in my life…to shine the light of Your love and hope in times of darkness.
…where there is darkness, light…
Who do you know in need of a little light?
(To read other posts in the Prayer of St. Francis series, click here.)