Songs in the Night

Though I love to hear cicadas “sing” and whippoorwills answer each other, nighttime when it is dark of the moon can seem so long. I don’t like caves and caverns where darkness is thick and overwhelming. When we drove years ago through long West Virginia mountain tunnels, I had a tendency to hold my breath until we could see daylight at the end.

The darkness of sorrow, of injustice, of illness, tragedy, and distress can stretch before us like a never-ending tunnel. One seeks sleep hoping with unreasoning hope that the horror will be gone when one wakens. Instead, our consciousness returns and we realize with a dull ache that the darkness of sorrow or pain is still our close companion.

I just came home from attending a beautiful funeral, that of my husband Charles’s partner of forty years, Dr. Eugene Talmadge Maddox. They practiced veterinary medicine together at Cairo Animal Hospital, founded by Dr. Maddox in 1963. The eulogies at the funeral were funny, touching, and inspiring. His pastor reminded us all that Dr. Maddox is now enjoying the delights and amazing rewards of heaven.

But no matter how wonderful the knowledge that Dr. Maddox knew Jesus and is now with Him, we still grieve. His sons, his dear wife, Patsy, grandchildren and great grandchildren are going through a dark time. They are comforted, yet the fact remains Dr. Maddox will not be telling his colorful stories, playing with his grandchildren, or giving his sons advice.

A tragedy recently occurred in my extended family. A beloved young man of seventeen was killed in a single car crash on his way home from an after-school job. It was a rainy night and somehow his car didn’t make it around a curve but slammed into a tree. Our whole family, especially his immediate family, is in a state of heavy darkness.

I find Psalm 42:6 very comforting, very reassuring. It says “Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me.”

I woke this morning with lyrics of an old song in my head. It’s a song I learned from my missionary brother, Orman, many years ago.

In shady green pastures so rich and so sweet

God leads His dear children along.

Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet

God leads His dear children along.

Some through the water, some through the flood

Some through the fire, but all through the blood,

And some through great sorrow, but God gives a song

In the night seasons and all the day long.

I’m sure the writers of this song, Jason Saetveit and Richard Hall, must have known great sorrow through which God gave them a song.

I pray you can listen for the song in your darkness, not just the song of a whippoorwill, but a song in your very soul, a song of peace that passes understanding, a song from Him who knows sorrow down to the very bone and feels it with you, the one who also can give you joy again.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Songs in the Night

  1. Carol Ball

    Thank you Brenda. We love you.

  2. Joyce herndon

    Absolutely beautiful writing, filled with truth and peace.

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