It was a lengthy trip – sixty-plus hours in our car. With my sister-in-law’s death approaching and a niece getting married, on a whim we loaded up and traveled nearly 2000 miles. We drove like maniacs, arriving after two long days. We celebrated – both at a wedding and a memorial service, hung out with family, and began our return trek ten days later. This time we drove shorter days and stopped three times to visit with friends and other family members. At the end, we had driven 4200 miles.
When you spend the majority of a day with hands on a steering wheel, blinking at dotted lines, and moping behind semis in road construction areas, talk radio helps stimulate your brain. And so we heard a great deal about Hillary’s clearance, the shooting of Philando Castile, and the ambush of the police officers in Dallas.
Saturday night at home we sat dumbfounded as our local news reported the protest in the middle of the interstate in the heart of our city. Sunday morning I read how 102 protestors were arrested and 21 officers injured. Good grief! No, make that stupid grief.
And horrible grief, overall.
Some days it seems darkness is all we see.
Uncertainty and doubt whisper louder in the dark.
Roots of bitterness sprout into angry weeds.
Fingers of fear steal a strangle-hold around our hearts.
Poisons that paralyze our hope.
I remember the days following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. We were again on a thousands-of-miles-long family vacation. Pride surged as we read scores of marquis proclaiming “God bless America” and “United We Stand,” while gas prices spiked overnight. I battled irrational fears. What if terrorists were hiding out in the national parks where we camped? Will we have enough money to make it home? One night while driving down a lone dark highway, I knew I had to deal with the fear that had invaded my mind.
When we live by faith, we believe even in the dark the Light is there. We may not see Him, but He sees us.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
(Psalm 139:11-12, NIV)
The Light has all under control.
Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
(1 Chronicles 29:11, NIV)
None of the horrid things happening around us surprise Him.
I foretold the former things long ago,
my mouth announced them and I made them known;
then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.
(Isaiah 48:3, NIV)
None of it is new.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9, NIV)
So what can we do “when darkness seems to hide His face”?
We “rest on His unchanging grace.”*
What else can we do in the dark? Nothing productive or helpful. If we don’t have a flashlight or a light switch to turn on, and if we don’t want to go tripping and bumping around, we sit still. When we don’t have answers or words to share; when things are out of our control and there’s nothing we can do; we rest. We close our eyes and rest.
I do have control over the darkness. Instead of staring at it, I can ignore it – or at least deny its power over me. I choose what darkness I’m going to look at: either that caused by outside forces, or that which I see behind my eyelids. Closing my eyes allows me to look inwardly at the Light of the World.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said,
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12, NIV)
The darkest night can never extinguish the LIGHT.
Truth always frees.
Forgiveness always wins.
Faith robs fear of its stronghold.
Hope denies darkness its power.
*My Hope is Built, Words: Ed¬ward Mote, cir¬ca 1834
©Cheri Johnson July 2016