The Darkness is as Light

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.

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One thought on “The Darkness is as Light

  1. I have no doubt that God would give your grace to live wherever He would direct, including the darkness of India. My question is would your mother and I receive that grace to let you go life in that darkness. The immediate answer is, of course, “Yes, I know He would!” But, my selfish humanity says, “NO! We did not raise you to go to such a place!”
    When we stood before the church and gave you back to the Lord in dedication, I knew you were only lent to us. At some point, you would fly into the world of God’s calling. However, I never dreamed this dream.
    I thought a nice stateside calling, maybe a pastor’s wife or even a pastor or church staff member with a nice house and kids and all the good stuff most people hold dear. But a life of selflessness, of giving until your body hurts with those suffering! I did not know this was part of the deal! Would we do anything different? Of course, not! Would we have taught you differently? Of course, not!
    My hope is found, as always, in the living Word. I Corinthians 12:9,10 come immediately to mind.
    “And He (Jesus) has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness ” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, (the darkness) for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (strength of Christ).” [parenthesis mine]

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