Help us SEE You in the Darkness

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (and the darkness) I will fear no evil, for You are with me…..” Psalm 23:4

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

“He restores my soul….”Psalm 23:3

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I have always hated darkness. As a child I was talked into crawling through a “touch tunnel.” Sounds all well and good, but you are in a maze in total and complete darkness where you must feel your way out; you cannot even see your hand in front of your face. Even thinking about it now, makes me shiver.

As a child, I thought darkness referred only to the absence of light, and if I could have a night-light at all times, then I could chase the darkness away.

Of course, now as an adult, I know that darkness comes in many different forms. Some forms of darkness can easily be chased away, while others have the power to consume you.

The darkness of a loved one’s death, mental illness, a psychological trauma, abuse, a scary medical diagnosis, a broken marriage, a wayward child, can all threaten to consume us. The darkness of these realities seek to overtake the light.

This past week, the world lost a precious woman. Questions like: “Why?” “Could I have done something?” and “How did I miss her pain?” nag at our thoughts day and night. Answers are few, questions are many, and grief is palpable.

When I received the news of her death, I was unable to process anything for awhile. I heard the words people were saying, but the words just could not make sense. My friend was never without a smile or a joke. I never once left her presence without a smile on my face. She loved Jesus, her family, her friends and anyone in need. She treasured God’s Word and she spoke it often. How could she be gone?

As time passed, the numbness gave way to sadness, the sadness gave way to anger, and the anger gave way to guilt. In those moments of complete confusion and disorientation, I felt like I was back in the touch tunnel. I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t see God’s purpose. I couldn’t see why He allowed this. I couldn’t even pray.

This blog is dedicated to seeing God in my everyday life, but what happens when it is dark and you can’t SEE Him?

You hold tight to who He is, and you ask Him to turn on a night-light!

If you have godly friends (and/or parents), you call them and ask them to pray with you and for you. You cry out to God to help you. You beg God to help the others affected. And you begin speaking out loud, who God is.

Darkness does not change who God is. God is good (Psalm 136:1). God is love (1 John 4:8). God is in complete control of this world (2 Chronicles 20:6). God is working all things for the good of those who love them, even when that means temporary, yet unimaginable pain (Romans 8:28). God is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9). He is our shield (Psalm 28:7), our refuge (Psalm 46:1), our stronghold (Psalm 18:2), our rock (2 Samuel 22:3). He is our salvation and our strength (Isaiah 12:22).

God feels our pain and holds us close. He “hides us in the shadow of His wing” and sets our feet upon The Rock.

The day I heard the shocking news, I sat in my car for an hour. I went from feeling nothing, to gut wrenching pain in a matter of moments. As I was emotionally back in the touch tunnel I cried out to God. It was not a fancy prayer. In fact, it went something like, “Daddy, help!”

And He did. He turned on the night-light through a friend who prayed for me, because I had no words. He held my hand in the darkness as He brought the truth of who He still is to my mind. He hid me in His wings as the numbness gave way to pain.

I still have no answers, and my heart still hurts for my friend’s family. I don’t know why the darkness was allowed this temporary victory. But this I do know: darkness won this battle, but God has won the war!

My sweet friend was and is a child of God. She had given her heart to Jesus and knew that she was forgiven. His blood covered her sin: past, present and future. She is His and He is hers. (I can still say “is” because she is with Him right now).

We are still left in the dark in so many ways, but we cling to The Light. I pray that good will come from this. Let’s pray earnestly for transparency in relationships, especially in the body of Christ. I’m so not perfect and neither are you. Let’s be real with each other. Let’s ask “How are you?” and mean it! And let’s not be afraid to answer that question honestly!

Let’s earnestly pray that the church will lead the way in addressing and helping to provide for those with mental illnesses and emotional pain. It is a complicated and highly debated subject, but Jesus never ever avoided complicated and debated subjects. We live in a broken world and have to acknowledge that brokenness affects all of creation, including human bodies and minds. Let’s follow our Savior’s example and not judge, but love.

And let’s shine the light of Jesus into each other’s lives. You never know when someone is groping through the darkness, unable to SEE in front of them. We can shine the light of love and of truth into the darkness as we remember and reflect on who God is.

Just as Mary Magdalene discovered early one Sunday morning as she wearily walked to a garden tomb thinking that darkness had won; there will be times when the darkness will win a battle, but praise God, we have a victorious risen King who has already won the war!

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (and the darkness) I will fear no evil, for You are with me…..” Psalm 23:4

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

“He restores my soul….”Psalm 23:3

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