‘Darkest before the dawn’ is a well used statement, full of light, hope and potential. We use it to buoy ourselves up before collapse, perhaps when we think it can’t get any worse and perhaps when we think there is no hope.
It’s a real truth, seen in nature every day. It is indeed darkest just before the dawn, just like it is lighter under the rainbow. But what is dawn?
Dawn starts with first light and finishes with sun up. So dawn lasts for quite a while. For those of us who have ever spent a night looking after a small child, looking after a sick person or being sick ourselves we can agree that the night can seem very long and lonely. Jesus’s last night on earth was one of endurance. He had a job to do, a task to fulfil and dawn was not going to bring any relief. Except he knew that His last day had at least begun. And after His crucifixion? Well, the disciples must have thought it was still dark, if not darker. They must have thought they had been thrown into turmoil, they had forgotten all of his words predicting his death and resurrection. No doubt they despaired and wondered what to do, how to go forward from this place.
But the tide always turns, the rhythm of life always moves on and day always breaks. In fact, unknown to the disciples, first light had already come – Jesus’s death signalled the move towards sunrise, dawn started to break on the Friday when Jesus’s death upset the devil’s realm once and for always. On Easter day we had sunrise for sure and Jesus became available to everyone.