What if it truly is a “Black Friday” for you or someone you love? What do you do when it seems impossible to have any hope under present circumstances? The story of George Matheson may help. Matheson was born to privilege. At the University of Glasgow he graduated first in classics, logic, and philosophy. Then, in his twentieth year of life, he became totally blind, but followed God’s call to ministry anyway. Though unable to see anything but darkness, Matheson pastored some of Scotland’s finest and largest churches, wrote books of theology that are still read and cited today, was theologian to Queen Victoria, received numerous honorary doctorates, filled the most prestigious lectureships in the land, and was a fellow of the Royal Society.
This prayer by George Matheson may help you move beyond Black Friday: “My God, I have never thanked thee for my thorn. I have thanked thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the glory of my cross, teach me the value of my thorn. Show me that I have climbed to thee by the path of my pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbows.”
Thorns protecting roses, tears producing rainbows; perhaps I should rethink my problems. As Annie Dillard observes, “You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is required.”
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28-31, KJV)