Last year an event happened that altered my life and the life of my family. You know, the kind of event where one moment you’re moving full speed ahead in one direction … then suddenly (and it is sudden) … something happens: illness, divorce, death, loss of a job … and it completely changes the course of your life. These are the times life does a 180 on us.
I find it a bit disorienting and unsettling, don’t you?
Last year, life did a 180 on me and I’m still trying to get my balance – to be able to orient myself to a new life, a whole new way of living … and changing … and accepting.
It was a Sunday. I was sitting in a service at All Saints Church. Psalm 139 was read aloud. I’ve read Psalm 139 a million times. Okay, so maybe not a million times … but a lot! We get to verse 12 where it says, “…even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (NIV)
And suddenly the Spirit said, “Stop listening to the Preacher and let’s talk about that.” So, I bowed my head and pictured the scene. And I realized I felt like my life was in the dark. I mean dark – pitch dark. I couldn’t see anything. I didn’t know where to go. The ground below was rocky. I was afraid.
Ever feel like that? Well … there I was telling Jesus this was where I was at.
And that’s when, through his Word and Spirit, He spoke to my soul. “Jackie, it’s dark to you but not to me. I am the Light. Grab my hand and I will lead you out of here.”
There I was, grabbing his outreached hand and stumbling as he gently tugged me forward. I couldn’t see much – just this faint light ahead. I kept my eyes on him, slowly moving forward, still feeling unsteady … but now with hope … that someone greater than me was helping me out of there.
Later, I thought about this encounter with God. It reminded me of the time I took my children to Mount Sinai. I wanted to go where Moses got the Ten Commandments. Mount Sinai is out in the middle of the desert. I mean desert … like I had never seen before. Talk about rocks and sand and dirt! That was it, no greenery anywhere. No animals. It was desolate … with a few Bedouins here and there.
We arrived in a little town developed solely around those, who like me, wanted to climb this mountain. If you wanted to see the sun rise … which I did … you had to start the climb between 2-3 AM. So, we woke the kids and started towards the mountain. It was pitch black out. I couldn’t see a thing.
I remember us walking down this dark road surrounded by rocky mountains and thinking, “Am I nuts? I have my kids and the travel books said beware of robbers hiding between the rocks. Am I out of my mind?”
Out of fear, I boldly instructed my kids and husband we were turning back. It was not safe. My kids were livid. They started yelling (we do that in our family), “We are not going back! You MADE us come, you made us get up early. WE ARE HIKING THIS MOUNTIAN.” I knew I was defeated, so onward we walked.
We finally got to the base of the mountain – where you start your ascent to the top. The path was rocky, uneven, and steep. It was dark – real dark … just like I felt a year ago. It took a while for my eyes to adjust. Occasionally along the hike, we’d come across a camel. Madison, who was 11, grabbed my hand. She said, “Mommy I love you but I will never forgive you. I can’t see and there’s a camel breathing on my ankle.” I held her hand tight and assured her we were going to be just fine.
That was the picture. That’s what God was doing when he spoke to me that Sunday I sat in the pew.
Maybe, just like me, you too need to hear God say, “Grab my hand. It may be dark to you but I am the Light.”
“…even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Psalm 139:12 NIV