Monday, September 16, 2013

Messy Monday: Messy and Blind

I took my life into my own hands last week. Or my legs at least.

With the increasing darkness around us (and I'm not speaking metaphorically here), morning runs have become significantly more treacherous and the sidewalks around this town are a mess. When we first moved here I wondered why everyone walked on the streets. Then I saw the sidewalks. Bingo.

So I was cruising enjoying that moist morning coolness when I saw headlights ahead. Out of courtesy to the drive and regard for my own life, I cut into the nearest yard and climbed onto the sidewalk.

Bad move.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I chanted to myself in the darkness as I leapt from block to block of sidewalk, bracing myself for the inevitable crack or chasm that would send me plummeting to the concrete floor beneath with any variety of twists, sprains, or breaks.

In the light, it's no big deal really. The dips, the rises, the cracks, are all perfectly visible. The light gives me depth perception. It gives me sight.

The other morning I was running alone and blind.

And it wasn't the first time.
Perhaps that's one of the most terrifying things about darkness. The illusion that you are alone.

Even the most dangerous circumstance seems somehow surmountable as long as there is someone with you. As long as you aren't all alone.

I taught my Sunday School kids yesterday that God separated the light from the darkness and for them it was a plain fact, but for me the fact burrowed into my own dark places...

There is no darkness that God does not control.
There is no place, no matter how dark, where God cannot be found.
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
I could quote scripture after scripture about light and darkness.
How the light is hope.
How the light overcomes.
How the light is Jesus.
And crossing from darkness to light, there are no verses more meaningful.
 But for the sake of those around us, groping through darkness, believing the deception that they are all alone, scared to death, I give you this: 
 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
2 Corinthians 4:5-7
Sometimes those of us who walk in the light forget how larger-than-our-weak-little-selves the darkness was.
We forget the despair.
We like to pretend this is the way it always was.
Because to admit otherwise might expose those dark places that we would really rather keep to ourselves.
And why would we, having certainly escaped the judgment of God through the blood of His Son, offer up our lives to be judged by others?
Because we are living sacrifices. Because that is our cross.
Because there is no place where light is more glorious than when it is shining in the midst of palpable blackness.
Because no one is ever really alone.
Because people are dying in darkness, and we have a God of light.
Because Jesus did it for us.
Because all the power really belongs to Him anyway.
And we are sons and daughters of the King. A royal priesthood, a chosen nation.
It's a get well card for a friend who suffered a similar injury to what she endured.
Sometimes that's all it takes.
Lord, open our eyes to the pain and darkness around us today. Let us be lights to shine Your glory in ways that cannot be ignored. Pour out Your love in the world around us and give us the heart of Your Servant to be vessels of that love. Amen.