Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 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.
I’ve been sitting on this post for a while. Soon after arriving, I felt God fill my heart with Psalm 139, particularly the portion above. But how do you put into words what God has put in your heart? Sometimes it flows; maybe God intended that word to be shared. Sometimes, like the last 5 weeks with this passage, it doesn’t and you have to wait it out…
A few nights ago the power went out at the evening care center. Nothing dramatic about that; power goes out pretty consistently around here. We turned on some battery operated lanterns and flashlights and went about our business. But this power outage was different, much of the city had been affected. As we drove home in the taxi, there was a deep darkness everywhere I looked. And my heart filled with this passage yet again… even the darkness will not be dark to you… for darkness is as light to you.
It is so easy to see the darkness of this city, of the human heart, especially working where I am. But we have a promise that there is nowhere we can go that is too far for God’s spirit to be with us. Even if we make our bed in the depths of hell, God is there. Listening to the girls at the vocational center, many of them have referred to the district as hell. But God is there. For all the women who have been forced to make their beds in this hell on earth, God is with them. His hand holds them fast.
I think what made this particular post difficult to write is that it feels deeply intimate. You see, the ladies and children of the district are no longer a category, a statistic, a people group… they are my friends. The darkness that I had only read about and studied from the safety and sterility of the library is now part of my daily life. Have you ever looked into the eyes of a young girl waiting in an alleyway for a customer to walk up? It’s not an easy thing. Have you ever touched the scars on a girl’s arms, scars left by her own tortured mother? It causes real physical pain in my own body. Have you ever listened to a young girl describe her greatest dream as “getting myself and mother out of this hell”? It breaks your heart.
This is true darkness.
But I have to wonder, to question myself, “would you be willing to make your bed in the depths?” We are promised that God is there, so why would I even question? But if God literally called me to make my bed in the depths, not to go in and out, living in relative safety and security but to actually live in this hell with these women and children, could I do it? I don’t know. What I do know is that for the women and children already living there, His hand holds them. His Spirit surrounds them. His light shines in the darkness.
For darkness is as light to You.