Across the Pastor’s Desk: There is sunshine in darkness

Published 8:00 pm Friday, January 21, 2022

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Josh Enderson

I have a very eclectic music collection. If you shuffle it, you might get Beethoven or Dolly Parton, Gregorian chant or French pop. You just never know what might come up. The other day, an old Carter family song came up randomly, “Keep on the Sunny Side.” If you don’t know the hymn, the first stanza goes: “There’s a dark and a troubled side of life; There’s a bright and a sunny side, too; Tho’ we meet with the darkness and strife, The sunny side we also may view;” followed by the refrain: “Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, Keep on the sunny side of life; It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way, If we keep on the sunny side of life.”

Josh Enderson

For some reason this old song struck me when it came across the speakers. We’re going through a lot of dark times right now. I could name off all the things (an ongoing pandemic, political division, etc.), but the list would be incomplete, and I’m sure you have things that you would add to the list. Somedays we all feel like those troubles overwhelm us. We can feel like we are all alone.

But there is a sunny side too: God is by our side. There is hope amid all that we go through. Hope is something that is realistic; it looks at all the pain and struggles around us and says that this isn’t all that there is to life. Hope says that, yes, there will be pain and struggle in life because that’s a part of living. But hope reminds us that God is here, too. Hope reminds us that God’s light is at work, and that hope is something we can cling to during all that we go through. 

I don’t hear a call to ignore the pain and struggles around us, or to just plaster on a smile and bury our heads in the sand amid the real needs that we have in our lives. What I hear in these words is the reminder to hold on to hope in God’s love and grace and presence amid the troubles and pain that we go through. I hear a reminder to share this hope with others who might be going through a tough time and need that word of hope in their lives. Because, as the final stanza says: “Let us trust in our Savior always, who keepeth everyone in his care.” Let us hold on to hope and keep some sunshine in our lives, too.

Josh Enderson is pastor of Hayward and Trondhjem Lutheran churches.