The evening light dances across the yard, the tired fall colors suddenly glow hues of bright yellow and gold. Leaves that an hour ago were just tired brown are flaming bronze. The air is glittering with lavish beauty.
Long dark tree shadows stagger across the gravel driveway and reach their thin jagged arms into the grass.
You know the kind that seems to reach deep into your heart?
Where the warmth of the sun grows clammy cold?
We were meant to be filled with life and light.
We gasp suddenly.
The world is plunged into darkness, and our eyes desperately look for even a glimmer. The shock we feel when suddenly the warmth fades, it leaves us gasping.
A sudden word, a childish squabble, a painful trigger to a long ago wound we thought was healed. The peaceful air in our hearts is shattered with a chilling scream.
This is life.
How do the moments of brilliant joy and then the shocking brokenness reconcile? How can heaven and earth clasp hands, mortality caught in the struggle?
Sometimes those long jagged shadows in our hearts are there because of deep childhood wounds. We whisper silent vows to protect ourselves from ever being hurt again. We’ve watched hypocritical lives say one thing and live another, burying seeds of resentment deep in our hearts. “I will NEVER be like them…”
Through the ages, God has sent many to remind us that that HE is light, and in Him is no darkness at all…
Imagine a world with no shadows, no night, no caves hidden from the sun.
No lies, no moral failure, no cancer or death.
A world untainted by sin. So brilliant my eyes wince in the blinding light.
But this world carries heavy shadows.
Sometimes it is the very moments of deepest darkness and desolation that show us how full the light really is. Who could have imagined the irony of finding deeper life and commitment to God at the edge of a cold, unwavering grave? But that truth has changed me forever.
Moses’ life of prestige was tossed aside as he baked under the hot desert sun, his identity being sanded and scoured below anything he ever dreamed. Going from being pharaoh’s son to a nomadic sheep herder must have been dizzying. His soft hands giving way to callused and worn tools of the trade. Gone were the days of pleasant food and ease, now it was a daily fight for subsistence.
I think of Isaac as he lay on that hastily constructed altar, his arms bound and his heart pounding. The warm love between him and his father suddenly cold as the knife blade hovered above him.
Time freezes. This is where we find ourselves.
Where is God in these moments?
Where is God when the sun is ecplised?
When all we held dear slips between our fingers and shatters into a million pieces?
I was speaking with a friend today who is braving some very dark waters.
She is being peeled back layer after layer, and finds herself gasping as her life dismantles before her eyes.
Everything she has ever known or wanted now lies vulnerable and helpless.
But it is there that the miracle comes.
Even in the shadows, He sings over us.
His banner is one of love. Of commitment. Of dedication. He is not daunted by our need. He is not threatened by our questions, our sobs, our moments of un-doneness.
Pour it all out before him.
You’ve tried so long to do the right thing you’ve locked away the little child that’s terrified. Terrified of failure, of not measuring up.
Don’t rush through this. This place is pivotal. It is priceless.
Do not rush to get past the discomfort.
It’s like stepping naked into a bright light.
But it’s only once you’ve stepped out of the closet of shame that you can discover how fully you are loved.
You don’t need to BE anything.
David knew it well-
“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!”
(Words from Psalm 27)
It is walking though seasons of hunger and unanswered prayers that teach us that God sustains us. It is in the seeking, in the waiting, that the seeds of faith are sown deep in our hearts, far beyond the clutches of fear and shame.
Soak in the truth of who He is.
It is there that the reality of who we were made to be is discovered.
Even in the moments we cannot see the light, He is there, holding us.
The sun slips beyond the horizon as the hush of evening pulls it’s sleepy self over us. The night is here, but we can face it unafraid.
We know the morning is coming. And God will not forsake us this night.