A number of my friends and family are walking through the darkness in their lives right now. As I've been thinking about them and praying for them, I've also been thinking about the three alternatives for walking through the dark. I believe that everyone has to face the darkness at times in their lives. But what we do in those times, our choices about how to respond make a huge difference in where we end up. So, here are a few quick thoughts on those three options:
1) There are those who deny the darkness, claim it doesn't exist, put on a happy face and believe that faith is just saying "God is good, all the time" as a way to run from the pain of dark times. They don't want to face doubts, to ask the hard questions, to allow their hearts to be broken by sorrow. Deep down, they fear their faith will be broken, too, if they allow any doubts or questions to surface. The only problem is that those who don't face the darkness, those who try to skirt around it, also skirt around God's efforts to help them grow deep with Him. They stick with their comfortable cliched faith, and that’s pretty much where they’ll stay.
2) There are those who God calls deeper, but in the face of the pain and darkness they turn away. They try to lessen the discomfort by turning to other things, distracting themselves to try to protect themselves … perfectly reasonable, except it results in a hardened heart, and they end up enduring the pain without gaining its rewards.
3) Then, there are those who God calls deeper, and they beat their fists bloody on His chest as they fight, struggle, doubt, hurt, wrestle, complain, cry out, accuse, rant, rave, rage, weep … these are the Jobs and Davids, the Habakkuks … they are the ones who say the wildest things, express their hearts with shocking honesty, they lay bare the wounds and face God will all the confusion, hurt, and doubt in their souls. But that’s the difference, they face Him. Always facing Him. And in time, they are changed forever. They glimpse the wonder, they put their hands over their mouths … they see God as they never could have before, and somehow they’re glad of it. And, when they say “God is good” it’s no longer a cliché, it’s a statement born out of the darkness, and it means something completely different than the same words spoken by those who have never come through that dark night. It’s a deep and profound thing. They have come through the darkness and discovered incredible light.
And that, I think, is the hope offered to all who walk in the dark. That’s why we keep fighting on even when we can't see … because there is no other way to get to that other side, there is no other way to come to that place where we’ll see Him as we never could have before.
So, for everyone who now finds themselves facing a time of darkness, hang on, hang in there, and keep facing Him through it all. There is light on the other side ... I promise, and so does He.