Light in the Darkness
Have you ever been in a place so dark that you can't even see your own outstretched hands reaching desperately in front of you? You stumble over unseen objects; your eyes widen and your eyeballs almost pop, trying to soak in every possible glimmer of light. Or perhaps it's been an emotional darkness where despair envelopes you, there's no glimmer of hope and you stumble through even the most mundane tasks. Do you lash out in anger and frustration, or do you will yourself to disappear? I've done both.
As a young child, we'd occasionally have overnight guests stay with us. Relatives would come from far away and need a place to stay. Doors would open, children would be moved around and space was found. We called it Mennoniting your way around the country. On once such night, I was relegated to the basement rec-room floor -- on my own. This room had fireplace and a sliding-glass walk-out door to the adjacent ravine. I saw both as possible accesses for rodents and other intruders looking to find a warm place in the winter. I lay motionless in my sleeping bag, unable to see anything in the darkness, and afraid to open my eyes lest I see the light of a stranger trying to access our home. In my fear and desperation, I pleaded with God to be with me and protect me, and asked for a sign that he was there. At the moment I heard a whoosh. I looked over to the source of the sound and saw a flame light up the dark fireplace and I knew that Jesus had my back. This would be an amazing story, though possibly coincidental had we had a fire that night that had slowly turned to glowing embers, but that fireplace had not recently been used. It was stone cold. The wood inside extinguished as quickly as it had ignited. All went back to being quiet and dark. I was never again afraid of the dark, and have never felt alone. Lonely, perhaps. But alone -- never.
I would hope for such a dramatic experience for everyone. It really solidified my relationship with Jesus. But for some reason, God chooses to use different object lessons for each of us. Sometimes it's very obvious and extraordinary, but sometimes these lessons are less dynamic, and our eyes aren't open to see them -- at least not right away. I still have those moments where I flail around in the darkness. Sometimes I call out in anger or frustration. Sometimes I nestle in a corner wishing not to be found. But no matter what, I know that Jesus is with me. He is the Light that shines through all darkness and there's nothing that I, or anyone else can do to extinguish it.
My book, Don't Tell journeys with Joanie Brusseau who spends so much time in darkness. After experiencing the ultimate family betrayal, her mind shields her from the horrors of her past and she disconnects with the truth. She stumbles in the darkness, unable to see light. Unable to see hope. Yet throughout her life, Jesus, the Light, reaches out to her, but she is blind to see it; until one chance meeting that changes her life forever. This new Light in her cannot be extinguished.
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His life is the light that shines through the darkness—and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5 TLB