Certain parts of my house are darker than others at night. With shades drawn, no light illuminating from the television, lamps resting in the off position, there is a spot right outside my bathroom door that envelops darkness. I used to be startled by this darkness, stumbling along a familiar path into objects that have not moved. I eventually realized that if I stood still, my eyes would adjust to the dark; it would capture light from somewhere. If I took just a couple of seconds to stop and look, even when I couldn’t see anything, I would gain access to everything I already knew to be there and to be true. There may be darkness, but if you stop while you’re in the midst of it, you will adjust and find the light in the darkest of situations.
Darkness can come in different forms. For me it was my dad passing away but it’s also having a whole attitude when my friends change plans at the last minute. Very different things but my initial reaction to any kind of change (disappointment, unforeseen circumstances, unfulfilled expectations, deferred timelines, etc.) can be very strong, maybe even dramatic (so my family says). My response isn’t always steeped in reality and the things I know to be true; I just stumble in the darkness of whatever feeling I’m feeling and rant on about it. These moments usually don’t last very long and thankfully the people in my life love me enough to let me do my song and dance then come back to reality, but I’m aware that it doesn’t take all of that. If I choose to pause and give myself time to adjust to the change (my perceived darkness), I can move about with ease knowing everything God said about me or the situation is still true. Even with the death of my father, it wasn’t until going to therapy and allowing myself to stop roaming around in the darkness that I realized I could be processing my feelings in a healthier manner. I didn’t automatically stop being sad about my dad being gone but the dark didn’t seem as scary anymore; I started to see the shadows of the truth of God’s love for me. No matter what form the darkness may take, if I choose to pause, I can make my next move wisely without all the stumbling around, allowing the faintest of light to lead me.
Your darkness could be a rejection letter or a poor health prognosis or unemployment or a divorce or a bad grade or a miscarriage or a cancelled trip. You get to decide what your darkness is, no matter how big or small it may seem to others. As much as we would love for a light switch to be flipped and the darkness to be eradicated immediately, sometimes we have to stand in it and let our eyes adjust to what is there, having faith that the light, no matter how little, will show up. Morning will come with the bright light of the sun, but even in the darkest of night, you can adjust.
Psalm 18:28 You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. (NLT)