I was in a very, very dark place in my life. I had endured years of heartache and turmoil, and I was about ready to give up. I just didn’t see the point of trying anymore. I said as much to my mom.
“I can’t take it anymore. I’m at the end of my rope.”
And you know what she told me? She was 10,000 miles away, but her words rang true, clear across the ocean waters separating us.
“I know you are. But hang on just a little bit longer. When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
(Later, I would learn that these words were spoken by Franklin D. Roosevelt. But at that moment, they were the words of my mom, encouraging me to be brave for just a little while longer.)
Almost every week I talk with someone who is at this same place in their life–this point of giving up, of feeling unable to take one more day of heartache, of trial, of pain.
Maybe you are in this place today?
May I encourage you, and offer the same words my mother spoke to me?
“When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
But I don’t want to leave you with only these words. I want to tell you why you can keep hanging on–why you can keep going even when your heart is crying out for just a little bit of relief.
Looking back now, several years later, I know I refused to quit because it was the right thing to do. I tied that knot and hung on because I knew God wanted me to, and I did it. But I learned something incredibly important during this time, and I want to share it with you.
This is the truth of hanging on during those dark, dark days–
It’s often the darkest, the blackest, right before God’s deliverance.
When you think there’s absolutely no hope, and things will never, ever change.
When you think God hasn’t heard your prayers, and His deliverance will never, ever come.
When you think the situation is too far gone, and things will never, ever get better.
This–this hopeless time–is often when God makes His move.
Think about the examples we have in the Bible of God saving at the darkest time.
Remember the Israelites trapped between the mighty Egyptian army and the uncrossable Red Sea? It was a dark time, the worst danger they had faced in their flight from slavery. It appeared they would be dragged back to their taskmasters in Egypt, back to the sweat and torment of their previous life. But at the last possible moment–in the darkest time–God opened a path through that uncrossable sea.
And what about the prophet Daniel? He had been commanded, under penalty of death, to stop praying to God. After the king’s edict, Daniel continued to pray three times a day, as he had done previously. I wonder how he felt as the soldiers dragged him to the lions’ den? As he was thrown among the roaring beasts? But what happened? At just the last moment, God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions. Those vicious lions became as harmless as kittens.
As we read through the pages of Scripture, we see this played out over and over again–how His people are left with absolutely no hope, no options, no possible way out. And then the Almighty hand of God moves, and miracles happen.
And the darkest hour of all?
When Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was nailed to a wooden cross to pay the punishment for our sins.
Though it was the middle of the day, oppressive darkness covered the land as He hung there. He cried out to His Father in anguish.
“My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?”
He drew His last breath, and the ground convulsed with an earthquake so violent it broke rocks into pieces.
As the rocks broke, so did the hearts of His followers. They had believed that He was the Chosen One, come to save them.
And now He was dead, their hopes dashed into a million pieces.
The Hope of the world, hanging limp on a cross. Their defeat was final.
How the demons of hell must have shrieked in delight that night. How Satan must have shook his fist in the very face of God.
The darkest of days had come. Surely there was no hope, no deliverance, not even a sliver of light to pierce the darkness.
But it was not the end. Three days later, another earthquake rent the ground. And the all-encompassing Light of the World arose in great power, piercing into the darkness–the darkness of sin, the darkness of death, the darkness of hell–with a power so strong all the forces of evil could not extinguish it.
This is the God we serve!
The God Who has power to save.
The God Who can bring the greatest light to the blackest of nights in your life.
Your deliverance may not come how you think it will, or when you think it should. God is our Perfect Heavenly Father, cradling us tenderly in the darkness as we wait for His hand to move. At just the right moment in time, He will deliver.
If you are at the end of your rope today, tie a knot and hang on.
But don’t stop there.
Lift your head and look up, for your Almighty God is coming to save you.
“And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” Psalm 50:15