North Santa Rosa

Living with Purpose

Dark days come to all of us. The good thing is they often pass as quickly as they come. On May 19, 1780, the day became night although it was only 11:00AM. It was an anxious time to say the least because of the Revolutionary War. But this day was different. The bats started to fly, the birds and chickens started to roost, the whippoorwills started to sing, and the frogs started their nighttime calls to their friends. People had to light candles in their homes to go about their business. But because of the mystery of the unknown, panic broke out. And people thought the end of the world was at hand.

    In Hartford, Connecticut, the State Legislature was in session and, when the darkness came at noon, the meeting of the Lower House broke up in alarm. People became what my grandmother used to call, “in a tizzy”. In the State Senate, a motion of adjournment was made, so that the legislatures could meet the Day of Judgmentwith whatever courage they could manage to summon.

    But the motion was opposed by Abraham Davenport, a judge, friend, and advisor of George Washington. Davenport faced the panic concerning the so called “End of the World with a warm heart and cool hand.

    He arose and addressed his legislative colleagues. “I’m against this adjournment,” he said. Then he explained his logic of courage and calmness.

    “The Day of Judgement,” he said, “Is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Bring in the candles and let us all be found doing our duty.”

    The likely cause of the “Dark Day was smoke from extensive forest fires, for which there is evidence from that time. When a fire does not kill a tree and the tree later grows, scar marks are left in the growth rings. This makes it possible to approximate the date of a past fire. Researchers examining tree rings and fire scars in the area that is today occupied by Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, see evidence of a fire in 1780. They attribute the unusually dark day to that.

    There have been other times in history that people thought the end of the world was at hand. Invasions by armies controlled by dictators, the rage of plagues like the Black Death. And most recently, people are struggling with the anxious thoughts concerning the COVID Pandemic.

    But in all history, it would be hard to find a better example for our times than the sturdy figure of AbrahamDavenport—“Let us be found doing our duty”. We can do this in three distinct ways:

    Let Us Draw Near (Hebrews 10:22). We draw near to God through prayer and by reading and meditating on God’s Word. His promises hold us steady in an unsteady world that seems to darken from year to year.  We can be sure, in time, the heavens and the earth will pass away,but God’s Word never will. Faithful attendance and support of God’s House also help draw us near to God. The church is to be a blessing providing security and fellowship with other Christians.

    Let Us Hold Fast (Hebrews 10:23). People are quick to throw up their hands when things don’t go their way. They doubt themselves and disappoint others. We mustn’t be found undependable, unstable, and unfaithful. We are to be established in the faith through the dark days and the sunny ones. Faith is the one substance that will hold our lives together and keep us from falling apart when the pressure is on and our surroundings are dark.

    Let Us Love Others (Hebrews 10:24). We must be a people who reach out to others in love. Our lives become incomplete and unfulfilled when we only think about ourselves. Seek to help ease the financial burdens of the poor, relieve the bereaved of loneliness, and share Christ’ssaving power with the lost. We must first love God with our whole being, and then spread that love with others also.

    At a time when we are all prone to be haunted by doubts and questions about the end of time. Let us most assuredly be found doing our duty.  


• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a Public Health Services Manager for the Florida Department of Health and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York community of Jay, Florida. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him by email:

Posted by on Aug 10 2021. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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