The Dark before the Morning

It’s early. I only got about four hours of sleep last night. I had two papers due today, and I had to finish them.

Did you know that there is a hush that falls over the world at five o’clock in the morning? Or rather, the hour before dawn.

They say it’s the darkest hour, but it’s really not. For a few short moments, though, all the world is still, and you are confronted with yourself. There are no sounds; the animals and birds and insects that we can usual trust to distract us are asleep, the nocturnal ones nestling in to rest, the diurnal not yet awake. Those people who are awake, almost in recognition of the hush, lower their voiced to a sanctuary whisper. All is slow, and still, and peaceful, and there is nothing between you and God.

Those are the moments when you are confronted with the darkness of your heart. You feel yourself being weighed, and found wanting, and it leaves you gasping for breath. The silence is dangerous; it grabs you and holds you up to a mirror, and if you do not distract yourself in time, you are undone. In the silence, you cannot hide from the One with whom we have to do.

We humans fear silence. We may claim that we desire it, but our actions reveal our terror. Noise is easy. Sound is easy. It is the moments of silence, though, when the still small voice of God shouts our names.

Adam, where are you?

And we flee. Because there is a holy God who is searching for us, and when He finds us, our world will be unmade.

What have you done?

Child, I love you. Come back to Me.

And we weep, and we groan, because this overwhelming love is almost worse than the punishment we expected. The scars on His hands and feet speak the awful truth that we can never escape this love; it will break us, and it will unmake us, and we will never be the same. But what He breaks, He will mend; we will be remade and restored to an even more glorious state than we fell from.

We flee because it’s too much. But we submit because it is all we need.

Listen to the sacred silence. Let the Lord of the Universe speak through it into your soul. It’s not safe.

But it’s good.

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