Charles Wesley dealt with depression and doubt at times in his life. I’ve not found a ton of his hymns that deal with this, but this Morning Song (usually titled, Christ Whose Glory Fills the Skies) really goes into that dark night of the soul. Last week, a college friend of mine, Shawn Pendergrass, died from accidental causes. He was one of those larger than life people that we all admired. When a young person dies, especially someone who burned as bright as Shawn, you can’t help but feel like you’re sinking as life swells uncontrollably around you.
I’m an Ecclesiastes kind of guy. I was folding laundry the day after I found out about Shawn’s death, and listening to a meditation on Ecclesiastes (at this link). There is a comfort in allowing yourself to voice the doubt and darkness, the anger and pain at the pointlessness of death. There is a peace in recognizing the insignificance of my life in the span of universal history. As I’m folding the tiny clothes of my children and meditating on this word, I just began bawling. Then, my wonderful 5-year-old daughter came in and said, “Dad, can you turn it down, I’m trying to watch Barbie on Netflix.” And I began laughing. We went to the pool after that, and the sinking feelings started to feel more like floating. The moments I have with others are fleeting, temporary, and therefore all the more precious and meaningful. The darkness is also temporary, and doubt will one day give way to the face-to-face.
Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Day-star, in my heart appear.
Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by Thee;
Joyless is the day’s return
Till Thy mercy’s beams I see;
Till they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.
Visit then this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.