In the Darkest Times

posted in: Faith, Illness, Relationships | 0
Steven and Chrysty Earp

Guest blog by Steven Earp

My friend and fellow pastor Steven Earp kindly gave me permission to share these reflections he posted on FaceBook about caring for his wife Chrysty. 

Even with her health challenges, my precious bride and I had what seemed to be a good week. We are adapting to the new normal with her declining health, and trusting the Healer for supernatural graces.

When it was time to retire for this evening, she started having greater challenges. The kind that require more effort on my part, and hers.

Our lives are great. So much love, joy, abundance in our home and hearts.

But seeing her weakness, experiencing the memory challenges, and navigating my own depraved irritations with it–these things can bring on a quiet undercurrent of sadness.

Even through this periodic sadness, I wouldn’t trade a moment of the time I spend caring for her.

These experiences are the primary tool the Holy Spirit uses to transform my heart. Even in this moment, I’m not the same as I was yesterday.

My longings increase by the day.

The sadness. The search for purpose. The wishing for momentary relief. The ignoring of shallow platitudes from well meaning onlookers.

I long for the day when her memory will be restored. When her limbs will be strong, balanced, graceful. When life’s dissonant tensions resolve.

To me this longing is strong evidence that there is a hopeful future ahead. My longing for eternity insists that a hope-filled reality exists.

This longing whispers in my ear, “This hurts at times, because neither of you were made for this place. You were made for a place without the disappointment, pain, or sadness.”

I’m not angry about any of this. I don’t really question why. I just want to know, “What is it, Lord, that you want me to become in the process? And how can I love her more, and serve You and her better?”

In the darkest of times, I also wonder, “When will You return? And put these crooked things straight?” But those thoughts are rare and fleeting.

In fact, just in the process of typing this, my heart has transitioned from largely sad to greatly hopeful.

Doesn’t our Lord say, “He rescues those whose spirits are crushed” (Psalm 34:19)?

Maybe that means in the darkest times we can also experience Him in the most intimate of ways. That may not be true, but I’m gonna keep meditating on it as though it is.


  1. How have you experienced God’s closeness in the darkest times?
  2. When you catch yourself asking “why,” what question would you like to ask instead?

Steven Earp is lead pastor of Elevate Church in Oklahoma City (www.Elevate.Church) and executive producer for the film

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Author. Pastor. Consultant. Coach.

My lifelong passion has been to help the church become healthier. I have lived this out through youth work, urban ministry, denominational staff work, and pastoring; through writing, editing, and publishing; through consulting with churches throughout the U.S. and Canada. During this season, I am living out my call to help churches become healthier by focusing on helping church leaders become healthier and more fruitful, through writing, coaching, and leading retreats and training events.

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