It was 4:30 a.m., and I could hear the dog barking to be let out. The dog never barked at this hour of the morning.
I tried to ignore him and go back to sleep. He persisted. I forced myself out of bed, got the leash, and trudged outside with him.
The yard was still buried in darkness, with a few indistinguishable shapes. Right now, I thought, I can’t imagine this yard in the daytime. And yet, of course, it will soon be flooded with light. Sunlight was just beginning to illumine the trees in the distance with a faint, yet radiant glow.
Suddenly I felt my own flicker of illumination. You see, it had been just a few weeks since I’d learned that one of my good friends, someone who had had a quiet but powerful influence on my life, had unexpectedly taken his life after battling bipolar disorder and deep depression. The ground shifted under my feet when I heard the news, and I was fighting to regain some stability. Each day I watched the food on my plate grow cold and the number on the scale dip. Migraines twice descended on me from nowhere, pummeling my head and stomach. I couldn’t forget the sight of him in a casket—so real and recognizable, yet so strange, so unlike himself. Everything felt dark, so dark that I nearly forgot what the light looked like.
In the darkness, we cannot begin to dream of what all creation will look like in the light of Christ’s splendor. But just as surely as the sun rises, so will God fulfill His resurrection promise to us. The Morning Star will dawn, restoring all creation and inviting His people to share in His glory.
It’s been eight years since that early morning’s revelation, and now I am facing the imminent death of my grandmother. Her life is braided more pervasively into mine, and the absence I feel will be bigger this time. No more listening to her stories, flecked with humor and wisdom. No more teasing her for incorrigibly sharing her opinions with bishops, CEOs and family members, asked for or not. No more candlelit Christmas dinners with her fine china and expertly arranged evergreen centerpieces. Her death will gouge a hole in the structure of our family, and though we all knew this time would come, we will inevitably totter without her.
But it’s been a comfort to remember that eternal reality is so much greater than our present reality. The Light is coming, even if we cannot yet see it. And the darkness will not overcome it.