SEEING IN THE DARK — OR NOT
Have you ever tried walking somewhere in complete and total darkness? I mean the kind of darkness where no nightlights are guiding your way, no outside light is coming in through the windows, and probably your blackout shades are drawn? Believe me! If you haven’t done this, don’t start now!
About 3 a.m. one night, I climbed out of bed and headed towards the bathroom – merely a few yards from my bed! Feeling quite confident that I could negotiate that short distance in the dark, I didn’t bother turning on any lights. That was my first mistake! I promptly turned the corner too soon and ran smack into the doorframe nose first! Needless to say, that startled me out of my half-sleep and left me thankful I didn’t end up with a black eye!
Another way we could picture this is to think back to one of those times when you’ve had to drive home through a “dark and stormy night”. When the clouds blot out the moon and stars, and the rain and fog surround us, even the headlights don’t help much in seeing what lies ahead.
In thinking about this idea of seeing in the dark, I was reminded of a near-tragic experience Dave and I once had in the BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area between Minnesota and Canada). We had been staying for a few days with some friends on the Gunflint Trail and had decided to take our boat out on the water for a day trip into the area. We had a lovely day fishing, swimming, exploring, cooking on a fire, and taking naps in the hammock of our temporary campsite. In fact, we were having such a great time that we forgot how long it would take us to get back to our launch site!
As we packed up and headed back, we were probably going just a little faster than we should have been, given that it was now pretty dark. But we had our GPS and our little gadget that had tracked the route we took to get out there…and we were probably a little overconfident…. As we motored along over the lake, we experienced the worst possible nightmare for a boater. We hit a rock just under the surface of the water. In the Boundary Waters, we’re not just talking about little rocks. We’re talking about giant mounds of granite that rise up out of the deep waters of the lakes and lie in wait about 3” under the surface of the water. Their prey? Unsuspecting boats with drivers in too much of a hurry to pay attention! Fortunately for us, the propeller shaft glanced off the rock and we were able to keep going – at a much slower rate of speed, I might add!
Another nightmare in that part of the country is to come upon a huge moose or a black bear standing in the middle of the road in the dark, just waiting for you to come along and go into shock as you try to avoid them!
During those weeks and months immediately following Dave’s death, I felt like my motor had hit a rock, and I could no longer navigate through the waters of life. I felt totally lost. I managed to get through the days – one after the other – only doing what I had to do. As I look back now from a perspective of four years later, I can only compare it to walking blindly in the dark…no moon, no stars, no compass for direction.
You may be able to relate to those feelings of lostness. Ah, but Someone walks with us through that impenetrable darkness; Someone who has gone that way before and can guide us into the way we should go. Learning to lean into His presence and reaching out to hold His hand – these are the most significant things we can do when we feel as though we’ve lost our way.
I came across an interesting verse in Isaiah 50:10 that says, ”Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.” What a powerful word of direction! This is our answer when we ask ourselves, “Where should I turn?” and “What should I do?”
We find more assurance in Psalm 42: 5 – “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.” And again, we see: Micah 7:7 – “Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” These two verses speak to our hope. God promises that He will hear our cries to Him, and that we will once again experience joy and praise because He has heard and helped us.
If you find yourself walking in the darkest place of your life, be encouraged that it’s a temporary situation. If we turn to Him, God promises to send light and help into that darkness. Proverbs 4:18 in the New Living Translation says, “The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.” Into your darkness will come a ray of light that will continue to shine on your path, to grow brighter as you go, and to lead you into the very presence of God. Be encouraged that He will never leave you or abandon you in the darkest night but will hold your hand and walk you through it until you appear before Him.
As always, your comments and stories are welcome here, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you as you walk this path, and feel free to share these posts with anyone who needs the encouragement.