Writing in the Night

Does it seem to any of you that things the last few months or so have been really hard? That there are more people struggling and hurting? As I’ve gone through my dad’s continued health struggles (2 more hospitalizations in the last 3 ½ weeks), my own health frustrations (bursitis on my knee after starting an exercise program of walking on the treadmill. I mean, seriously? I start exercising and end up with a golf ball of inflammation on my darned knee??), to a close friend losing her beloved dog…it just seems that struggles are hitting us all. And yet, in the midst of the hard times, we’ve seen God’s light, felt His comfort and love, and known He is present in the struggle with us. That has been such a grace and a blessing as we’ve gone through these recent days.

I must confess, though, as I pondered the struggles we’ve faced of late, that a part of me was a bit…peeved, I guess. Have you felt that way when you hit the struggles? You know, that sense of here I am, are doing this writing task for God, ministering to others, and WHAM! I’m smacked between the eyes with pain and trauma. What is up with THAT?

That sense of being peeved faded, though, when God’s whisper reminded me that, if we are to be authentic in what we write, in speaking truth into to the hearts and lives and pain of our readers, we must know the struggle well. We must, as Robert Frost says in his poem below, be well acquainted with the night. With the dark, hard places. So I thought I’d share Frost’s poem with you. It’s a favorite of mine, because it resonates within me…

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain – and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
Robert Frost

Friends, don’t fear the night. Remember, we are, ever and always, members of Christ’s fellowship of suffering. In our lives. In our writing. And we can, as Scripture exhorts, count that truth “all joy” because it means we walk in His footsteps, and we will be able to use our own experience of the struggle to minister to others. You and I KNOW that God is present in the chaos, in the hard places, because we’ve seen and felt Him there ourselves. We are acquainted with the night.

And that makes us better, more authentic writers.



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