John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
I’ve been writing this week on light, particularly light shining in the dark corners of our life. As I’ve been meditating on light and darkness, I feel almost like an imposter talking about dark moments and days.
My life really isn’t that bad.
Sure, I have cloudy days and sad feelings that take a little longer to shrug off. But when I look at my life in relation to others that I know and the world around me, I have been blessed with a lot of light.
I began to question my voice and my validity in speaking to this topic. I began to feel like people were scoffing my words, saying, “She has it great, how can she know what darkness feels like.” Or, “How dare she measure her inconvenient moments in such a weighty manner.”
Every Wednesday I have the privilege of hanging out with Juniors in high school. We talk, share funny stories about teachers and tests, read our Bibles, pray, and I live vicariously through their youthful vigor and perspectives. This week we were in Hebrews 11 and talked about our faith and God’s unconditional faithfulness. We read about Noah, Abraham, Rahab, Sarah, Moses and others who kept their faith to the end of their days, even if they didn’t see their promises come to fruition.
I asked the girls to share times in their lives when they had seen their faith return with rewards. One of the girls said, “I see it when I pray for something and I see God answer it, like when I pray for the right words to say to someone or to do well on a test. But then, when it happens, it’s hard to remember to thank God. I need to do better at that.”
All these little things we pray for seem trivial. Looking around us at the state of the world, they probably are. They’re not unimportant to God, but there is a certain sense that these little trials we pray through really aren’t that bad, and they definitely could be worse.
So are these things “darkness?” Can we label them that when next door we know someone who is battling a chronic illness? Can we call it a sorrow when the tears aren’t falling as hard or as frequently as the mother who is grieving a lost child?
With a sensitive heart I want to say we can. I want to say we should.
Someday, that biology exam may be an MRI. And instead of praying for a passing grade, we might be praying for our lives. If we haven’t practiced having faith in the small things, if we haven’t looked for light in the shadows, what will we do when we are facing a thick forest cloaked in darkness?
“The light shines in the darkness.”
The best way to start believing this is to live it in the small spaces of darkness already present in our lives. Seek them out with a flashlight. Overturn tables and find tiny ounces of black to shine light on and do away with. Leave no stone unturned.
Look for the little things – the problems you fear are trivial.
- The little whispers of doubt in your mind as you go to bed at night alone…you’ll never find someone to share life with.
- The fear that you don’t know how to connect with your friend who is grieving; you don’t know what to say or how to approach her with kind words.
- You’re driving around a parking lot in the rain and you can’t find a spot, you have three children screaming at you in the back seat, you’re hungry and you were all out of patience an hour ago.
Be faithful with these. Shine the Light of truth on them, lift them up to the Father, and see how He faithfully rewards those who look to Him.
And then, remember.
Remember when he gives your heart peace on lonely nights.
Remember when He gives you just the right words to say.
Remember when someone in the store comments on your beautiful children after you’ve battled the rain and the afternoon blues.
He may not give you a partner to share those night with or a parking spot right by the door, but He does provide. Look for how He provides and tell yourself those stories of provision over and over and over again.
One day, you may find yourself in a thick cloud of darkness, and when it feels like it’s smothering you, you’re going to need to recall one of these stories to strengthen your faith. You’re going to want these answered prayers in your arsenal to shine light on the dark days you’re having.
This darkness will be hard. Harder than any little shadows of darkness you’ve dealt with. But if you remember the stories you’ve told yourself of His faithfulness in all the small things, then you empower your faith for the dark days ahead so you can without a doubt stand firm in the truth that the darkness has not and will not overcome.
Light falls even in the thick of the forest, illuminating our path, calling us deeper still, for it’s in the darkest corners that even the tiniest glimmer of light has the greatest impact.
Those tiny glimmers of light that shine on our small trials and tribulations seem insignificant at best next to the problems of the world. However, they end up fueling the rays of light that will conquer the darkness to come.
Don’t lose heart, no matter how big or small your darkness is. It’s the size of the light that matters most. Practice having a big faith for even the smallest of your problems, so that one day when you’re faced with a giant, you’ll be ready.
In my newsletter this week (the Monday Minutes), I talked about light streaming into our darkest places, and how our days are filled with the hard and the good. This is one of my stories where I’m learning to press into the dark spaces to glean the good that comes with the hard.