"For this is the Eternal's promise: `Those who survive the sword shall find grace in the dungeon'" (Jeremiah 31:2 Moffatt). "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God..." (Acts 16:25).
It is surprising what verses help us in our needs. The verse from Jeremiah is a promise that in the midst of our withering experience we will find grace for weathering our darkness. I'm not sure what it means historically but, as I meditated on it, I thanked God that He will give grace when most needed, and that He will give us songs in the night.
But how do we find grace in our dungeon of despair or fatigue or circumstances? What possible "grace" can there be in the dark night of our souls, the midnights of our lives? And can we really sing songs in the strange land of affliction (Psalm 37:4), as did Paul and Silas? Yes, we can find grace--dignity--in our circumstances, and we can sing songs in our dungeons, for God has promised that it is exactly when we are in the dungeon that we will receive His compassion, as difficult as that is to believe.
We complain of our circumstances; we think it is impossible to live a believing life in the environment and situation that makes a knot of our heart and life. But frustration can become fruitfulness, and resistance can become resourcefulness. Corrie ten Boom found grace in her dungeon. She shares the horror of her internment in a Nazi concentration camp, Ravensbruck, and watching her beloved sister Betsie die there, in her book, THE HIDING PLACE. Corrie survived the camp, her terrible dungeon, and found strength and grace to bring comfort to millions worldwide. There are very few of us who will ever be called upon to endure what the people of the Holocaust suffered. We have no excuse to lie in our dungeon, not if we believe that all things are possible, even serenity in the midst of what is a humanly hopeless situation.
The foundation for the dungeon experience is established while we are in the Light, and in prayer and study of God's precious Word. We can't learn to swim when we are already drowning, so we must secure the anchor before the storm; otherwise, it is too late. I haven't a doubt that our anchor, our security in our storm, is in God's Word, for this gives us hope and "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast" (Hebrews 6:19). "Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight...And He said, `My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest'" (Exodus 33:12-14).
O Father, thank You for Your grace and graciousness in our dungeons of panic! Thank You for giving us Your Word that becomes our song in shadows that overshadow hope. Help us to find grace in Your sight, Father!
Patricia Erwin Nordman