It’s Better to be in the Dark? Really?

‘Whoa,’ I thought to myself this morning. ‘This insight is a game changer!’

Have you ever read something – a passage from a book, a short poem, a devotional, or a verse from Scripture – and recognized that its truth and exhortation was meant just for you?

For me it happened with some meaningful words from the prophet Isaiah, I gushed, ‘Wow! I really needed to read that today!’

You see, I am less than a week away from returning home to South Africa.

For the past six weeks, Jake, Caleb, and I have been spending time with my parents in their 39+ year-old home in Oregon. This house has served our family well over the years. Together, my dad and my uncle George built our family home in 1979. Dad dreamed it, designed it, and spent countless hours constructing it – after work, on weekends, on holidays, until it was ready for us. My brothers, sister and I spent hours and hours straining rocks from the front and back yard, painting the walls, and who knows what else after we moved into the house – all, again to make this special structure a home.

The memories our entire family created here are precious to us. Gatherings with family and friends, holidays, graduations, wedding rehearsal dinners, after-wedding parties, birthday celebrations, funeral and memorial gatherings, grandchildren play times, just-hanging-out-time, and so much more were memories we made together. Yes, these  moments were (and are) precious to us. Precious. Precious. Precious.

Yet, with the passing of those amazing, fulfilling, and heart-rendering 39 + years, we all have aged and changed. Jake’s, Caleb’s, and my visit to my parent’s home in Oregon was a focused, purpose-filled visit – to love, to encourage, and to help in anyway my parents needed.

And we did.

Yet, as I prepare to return home to South Africa and to my husband (whom I cannot wait to see!), I’ve been weighed down with thoughts that I could have done more cleaning, could have done more helping, could have done more assisting, could have done more processing, could have done more encouraging as our family begins to release our long-time family home and prepare my parents for a new chapter.

I honestly feel like I am walking in the dark – not knowing exactly what is ahead for my parents – and I will not be here on the ground to walk with them. I’ll be far away in South Africa.

And then, Then, THEN, I read these words from Isaiah today:

Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on their God.
But now, all you who light fires
and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment.

New International Version, Isaiah 50: 10 – 11

Did you catch what I said about feeling like I was in the dark about the future for my parents?

Did you catch Isaiah’s words of encouragement?

Check it out:

Let the one who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on their God.

I had never considered this thought before – walking in the dark, with no light, not being able to see, not being able to know, not being able to do what you normally do – requires trust and reliance upon the name of the Lord. It’s like this – God knows that we will be in the dark. In fact, before He created light, everything was in complete darkness. He expects darkness to be part of our human experience on earth.

And because He knows we will have moments or seasons or maybe even years in which we live in darkness, in uncertainty, in times of trouble, in sickness, in despair, in change, in yada, yada, yada –

He asks us to trust Him to lead us through those dark times.

Trust Him – when we don’t know the way.

Trust Him – when we aren’t sure of the next step.

Trust Him – when we see no point.

Trust Him – when we feel too scared to move.

Trust Him – when we feel lost.

Trust Him – when we believe we should be doing more, more, more.

Trust Him – to be our Light and our Salvation.

Because if we don’t trust Him in the dark, difficult, discouraging, uncertain times, and decide to create our own light, carry our own torch, rely upon our own strength, and make our own way – Isaiah warns that such self-reliant strategies will ultimately lead to our ruin.

The lesson here?

It’s better to be in the dark.

It’s better to be in the dark – resting in the knowledge that our God is there, too.

It’s better to be in the dark – trusting and relying upon our God to lead us forward to what He envisions for us. Because He can see through the darkness to all that is next. We cannot.

Yes, it’s better to be in the dark when God is there, too!

In March 2011, I wrote in the margin of my Bible, “Lay down your torch, Heather.” I’m not sure why I wrote those words seven years ago. However, at that time, I apparently focused upon relying upon my God and not myself. No torch for me!

In November 2018, I plan to write, “Remain in the dark, Heather. Trust and rely upon your God to lead you through – depend, depend, depend on Jesus.”

Because that’s the thing, isn’t it?

In the dark, we don’t know what is ahead.

We can’t see where we are going.

We aren’t at our best.

We don’t feel strong.

We are not independent.

We’re not even sure of our next step.

We need the care of our Lord and Savior to show us the way.

We need His light – and not our own.

He makes us a promise:

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

New International Version, Psalm 27:1

There’s no need to be afraid of the dark – because God is there.

I don’t know what is ahead for me, my family, my parents, or our long-time family home.

What do I know?

It’s okay to be in the dark about it all.

It’s okay not to know.

It’s okay not to be completely sure.

It’s okay.

Because in doing so, I am trusting and relying upon my God to be our family’s Light, our Salvation, and our Guide with all that is next for my parents.

What do you feel in the dark about, discouraged about, unsure about, or even depressed about?

It’s okay to be exactly where we are in our state of darkness – because God is there, too.

Let’s ask Him to be our Light as we step forward.

It’s going to be okay – even in the dark – because as we wait on Him, He will lead us to the Light and all that He wants for us – next….

4 thoughts on “It’s Better to be in the Dark? Really?

  1. Melinda Anderson Groth November 16, 2018 — 9:27 am

    Amen!

    1. Thank you, Melinda! Sorry I missed you this trip – hope to see you next year! Love, heather

  2. I love your raw, unbridled honesty. And your words hit home for me and my future with my mom as well. We are facing a big change in her living arrangement and it is scary. But, I will stay in the dark and trust that God is with me there. I will hold onto him tightly and just know that he is there – with me!
    Thank you Heather.

    1. Dear Shara, thank you for writing. The future – if we focus on all of the ‘what – if’ can be scary! I know we are in an entirely new season with my parents and I honestly have no idea what is really ahead of us. I just know that we’ve made some decisions with what we know now, and that’s all we can do. How grateful I am that our God is with us and He will guide us come what may. I pray you find a wonderful situation for your precious mom and that she feels a sense of both peace and belonging in her upcoming new space – whenever that happens. With love, heather

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