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Unspeakable Grace: Darkness

Psalm 139 has long been my favorite passage of Scripture.

In 2007, I found hope I could hold onto there when my five day old daughter left my arms for Heaven and I've never been able to let it go. When we could not put words to why their baby sister had not been healed here on earth, we pointed little faces toward the truths in the middle of this Psalm that gave us authority to tell them for certain she had been made perfectly and lived exactly the amount of time her Creator had intended for her to live.

In 2011, when the ultrasound screen showed a still little baby, complete with fingers and toes and I did not know where to go, the promise that I was indeed hemmed in behind and before held me fast. In every uncertain situation that has come since and tempted me to fight or fly, He's held me still with those words.

In 2013, I walked the city streets of China delivering a forbidden message of hope and the realization that I had literally gone to the other end of the world and was not hidden from my Father fell on me like rain. There really was nowhere I could depart from him, no place I could go that I could escape His presence.

All along, the realization that my God is here with me when I sit and when I rise, knowing my thoughts and discerning them from afar, hearing and knowing fully every word before it ever leaves my ornery tongue, and loving me still... it's kept me. Kept me from seeking in wrong places, kept me from settling, kept me from buying the lies that punk enemy peddles on every corner every day.

But lately? Lately, the reminder planted smack dab in the middle of that Psalm has been everything to me.

If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,'' even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
Psalm 139:11-12

Confession: I'm scared of the dark.

I am. I remember getting to the bottom of the stairs as a little girl, taking one look at the dark trees swaying in the wind through the distorted glass of our front door, and sprinting up carpeted steps as fast as my scrawny legs would carry me. I wasn't sure what exactly was lurking in the darkness, but I knew for certain I didn't want any part of it. 

Not much has changed.

I like to be big and bold until I get a glimpse of whatever is swaying in the darkness and then, all I know is I don't want any part of it. I'll run as fast as my (not near as scrawny) legs will carry me to leap safely into a safe, warm spot devoid of fear and shadows. My flesh craves comfort. Safety is sweet to me. I'll tell myself I can't really help whatever is going on outside. I just need to stay where I am and hope for the best for whoever has to face all those shadows are hiding. 

Surely Jesus wants sunshine for me, right? I mean. I'm His girl.

I want my kids to be safe. Surely He wants me safe and sound, too.

He does.

But our definitions are a little different.

He wants light for me. Son, too. (See what I did there?)

But my God knows how pathetic my version of safety really is and how quickly the slightest storm would blow it to pieces. All the creature comforts I could find or money could ever buy won't hold up when the strong winds blow. Christ alone. He will not allow me to dwell in my own false definition of safety and He will never let the comforts I find all by myself satisfy me. He'd be setting me up, selling me short, betraying me in ways no Father ever should. God Almighty knows full well all that is lurking in the darkness. 

No good Father could never allow a child of His to confuse that kind of fatal darkness with resurrecting light, that sort of looming death with abiding life.

Friends, all that sways in the darkness, distorted by this earthly lens looks so frightening from where we are. When everything in us tell us to run and pull the covers over our heads, to not concern ourselves with the ones stuck outside, to sacrifice whatever we have to in order to stay safe, may we be reminded whose child we are. He has fearfully and wonderfully made us for precisely this time in which we live. When we do not know where to turn, we are indeed hemmed in behind and before. He not only does not fear the darkness, it is as light to Him.

Our darkest days - the ones where we cannot see our own hands in front of our faces - are as day to Him. Our King has not been caught off guard and He is not scrambling up staircases to avoid the scary looking messes behind us. He is not and we cannot. As surely as we were not hidden fro me when we were being woven together in the darkness of our mother's wombs, we are not hidden from Him now. 

I'm scared of the dark. 

But my God has made me - His girl - LIGHT.

And you know what He's promised me? 

 "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." 
John 1:5

He's promised me darkness will never overcome.

Everything is ours in Him. Shine bright. Fear no more.


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