the darkness before the dawn

Morning is breaking.

I am ready for its arrival. The night’s pause has been a restless one for me. And while I’m not ready for the noise of a new day, I’m ready for the security of its light.

The quiet and dark of night often startles me. I hear things in the night that I don’t hear during the day. Bumps and creaks… fragile sounds that force my notice—force my trust. I cannot always determine the source of those sounds. My imagination tries its hand at identification, but it is not reliable.

Imagination is tricky business. Imagination creates. Imagination births. Imagination cultivates the seeds of my thoughts, and therein lies the rub. What my mind thinks is what my imagination grows.

I cannot help but think in the restless ache of a long night’s retreat. When sleep eludes me, thoughts invade me. When thoughts invade me, sleep eludes me. It’s an unforgiving cycle of give and take that sometimes depletes me for a next day’s living … sometimes energizes me for the same. My night’s imagination has served me in both directions.

Honestly, I’d rather be sleeping, but most nights I don’t. Instead, I grapple with this restless ache on a regular basis, trying to decide what to do with the time that exists between the darkness and the dawn.

Between the darkness and the dawn—a good soil for a good growing … a faith’s growing. A bridge between that which cannot be seen and that which is readily visible. That which is imagined and that which is reality. That which is shrouded in darkness and that which is unveiled in daylight. That which is secret and that which is revealed.

A night’s ending and a day’s beginning is a good edge to stand on if one is longing for faith’s interpretation. Faith teeters between these two extremes.

Faith accepts the mystery of the night while anxiously stepping toward the daylight.

Faith struggles with the unseen noises of the night, pondering their authorship and authenticity.

Faith looks intently into the darkness rather than retreating behind closed eyes.

Faith writes new words, new chapters in the darkness because the night insulates and isolates the “pen” from competing, daytime distractions.

Faith walks through the night because faith is certain about the morning.

Faith allows the night her witness because faith has seen the brilliance of its contrast.

Faith grows in the darkness because darkness has always been a good soil for faith’s good beginning.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2)

The first darkness before the dawn.

The pregnant pause before the proclamation.

The cultivation before the coronation.

The imagination before the illumination.

The faith edge I’m teetering on in this moment—between night’s grip and day’s break.

I’m almost there. Morning is breaking. The light is beginning to filter in through the blinds, arriving just in time to strengthen my understanding. To validate my night’s wrestling. To buoy my faith and my steps for another day’s journey until the sun and moon collide, once again, to wrestle out their witness within my soul. How I long to embrace the beauty of them equally. Thus, I pray…

Hold me, Father, in the in-between times—those moments between the darkness and the dawn. Cultivate your strength in me as I struggle to reconcile my imagination with your truth… my questions with my faith. When the night seems too long, too dark and too confining, lighten my spirit with the witness of your eternal flame. Burn it strong; burn it certain. Settle my heart in sacred confidence regarding the surety of the day’s arrival. And should I falter in my fear before I get there, find me in my struggle, hold fast to my frame, and pull me through into your morning’s light.

Dawn. Proclamation. Coronation. Illumination. Where I want to live in faith, sweet Jesus. Amen.


Copyright © November 2009 – Elaine Olsen


25 Responses to the darkness before the dawn

  1. Love this Elaine! It brings to my mind Jonah in the fish, & his prayer through that darkness. And, the remembrance that we are to learn from the darkness, which God gives us for a reason. Some of His greatest miracles were (and are) accomplished in the dark! Hallelujah!!! Have a blessed Thanksgiving precious sister!

  2. Elaine – so beautiful! You have just captured the essence of what faith is all about.

    What a blessing this morning to me.

  3. This speaks so directly to my heart, Elaine. I have been someone who stuggles with fear of dark and the unknown. I have also been someone who struggles to sleep through the night … since college. It can be difficult, but God's truth can always smash away the craziest imaginations. Some nights I give up trying to sleep and light a lamp and read my Bible – that sword of truth drives away all fear, doubt, and evil that preys on me in the darkness. It truly is a brilliant light!

    You are such a blessing!

  4. I'm right there with you – in the moment between darkness and dawn – knowing that the Son will rise, but not being able to tell when, just yet. This post was a gentle comfort to my soul, and it brought a smile to my face as I think about things to come. Thanks, Elaine!


  5. Thank you Elaine………."Faith grows in the darkness because darkness has always been good soil"….

    This blessed and encouraged my heart….

    Sweet Blessings!

  6. wifeforthejourney:

    Thanks be to God for the way you press on, even in those times where you aren't sleeping. You are in my thoughts and prayers this afternoon – love you!

    ~ Billy

  7. Elaine, that was simply beautiful. Thank YOU Father God for using Elaine. Thank YOU for all that You do and continue to do in our lives LORD. In Jesus' name, amen.

  8. I don't like the darkest much, either. Even though faith has so much to offer, you can't see it, much like being in the dark.

    I've been struggling with darkest these last couple of months, but God brought me out of it. Not an outwardly struggle but inwardly, and faith and trust was at the top of the list.

    love and hugs~Tammy

  9. This was such a beautiful and inspiring message…my favorite…"Faith walks through the night because faith is certain about the morning."

  10. The dark hours intrigue me when God is at work in me creating a new level of faith. Love the prayer.

  11. Like Karen, my favorite is "Faith walks through the night because faith is certain about the morning." Oh, that I will never falter in faith when dark times come!

  12. There is always meat to be found in your blog place…and you share it effectively with us. Love your words, love the way you connect your thoughts…your honesty, and transparency.

    Holding on to Him…in the dark.
    How beautiful this is.

    Blessings come your way today dear Elaine…


  13. Elaine, how absolutely beautiful!!!! I really have no words, my heart and soul is stirred…thank you! Love David Crowder and this song – a perfect match for your post!!!

  14. This is a song, or a poem. It has a familiar cadence; one every Christ-follower has heard in that darkness you so beautifully describe.

    Morning … dawn … has always been an intrigue to me. If anything personifies hope, it is dawn. If anything is an elocution of God's purposes, it is dawn. Stones roll away at dawn.

    Thank you.


  15. Elaine,
    Such a poetic journey. Stuck between ending and beginning. I have gone through seasons of incomplete nights and walked in that in-between time. I can't say I liked it at all, but I battled certain demons and learned from it.

    I pray you sleep the night through and awaken to a new day, refreshed and restored.


  16. This posting hits the nail on the head! The faith journey and the daily struggles to keep that faith in place… we all feel the truth in your words, we have all experienced the same things. That was beautifully shared Elaine, and challenging to my own faith! Thank you.

  17. Oh Elaine,

    Your words capture the heart so perfectly.

    The moment between darkness and dawn…oh that moment but the greater moment is when the dawn hits!

    Love you sister. Praying Peace for your journey. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your precious family.

  18. Whew…I finally stole some moments to spend with you.

    I have my hot cup of tea next to me and I was really excited to come and visit!

    Gosh, I feel like I've left a huge FEAST, once again God us your words to speak to my heart.

    First, I really enjoyed your last post, the video was precious.

    Enjoyed walking through your home and seeing how you begin your Christmas, craziness! I'm about to do that myself.

    Oh, the picture of your children was just precious!

    Then this post. It's amazing how God uses His perfect timing and ways to speak to us.

    I was praying and interceding for someone this morning and feeling the heavy weight of my burden for them.

    Then I read this.

    Thank you Jesus for speaking to me through Elaine.

    "Faith walks through the night because faith is certain about the morning…"

    I could quote just about every line you wrote, it was incredible.

    Thanks once again for sharing your heart with us. My life has been greatly impacted.

    Blessings to you and your family as we enter this crazy, but glorious season of the year!

  19. Elaine, I have to share this with my mom. She struggles with the night as well.

    God has been speaking to me about faith too. So much here to feast on tonight…might keep me awake awhile longer 🙂


    PS. Sorry for the deleted comment above. It would help if I learned to spell.

error: Content is protected !!