From dark to light

I took this in Montana a couple summers ago. Amazing!

Daughter Emily took this in Montana a couple summers ago. Amazing!

With the time change, I rise in grey light rather than pitch dark. By the time I hit the trail, I can see the round walnuts, black against the white gravel. My ankles are thankful.

I run due west, and at my halfway point, I turn around and head back, and the sunrise lifts in front of me.

Glorious!

But the payoff for the morning light is early dark. Earlier and earlier dark. It’s creeping in on us, hemming in our days, tighter and tighter.

It feels as if it’s crept into my soul as well.

I’m reading through Isaiah currently, and I just finished Cormac McCarthy’s apocalyptic novel The Road. “Doom and gloom” shrouded my thoughts this last week (hence the break from blogging). In between my times of people-filled activity (parenting/tutoring/teaching/meetings), my thoughts nearly immediately wrestle with the traumas of our trouble-riddled world, and my heart not only aches but wanders, confused and fearful.

At the height of day, with the sunlight brilliant on the lingering yellow leaves, the melancholy recedes a bit, but if I read through major headlines or listened to news talk radio, it returned. From all I can see and hear, we humans are not moving toward peace and goodness and Truth, and we become more and more bent on denying there is a God Who actually determines and is Himself Peace, Goodness, and Truth.

A few days ago I read Isaiah 22, and verse 11 jumped out at me. It summed up all my fears. The prophet Isaiah has told the Israelites that trouble is coming and they will do all in their power to fight against it: fortifying walls, arming themselves, creating a reservoir. “But you never ask for help from the One who did all this,” writes Isaiah. “You never considered the One who planned this long ago” (Is. 22:11b).

That describes us, I thought. We are so bent on finding our own answers to problems. We are so self-reliant and certain of ourselves.

What I missed at first was the irony that I, too, have been doing this.

The verse applies to me in my time-change-induced melancholy.

Though I have not been feeling self-sufficient, I have been trying to discover the “right” view on issues. I have wanted to feel certain and secure, and I have wanted my world to be certain and secure.

My eyes have been on the trouble rather than on the Solution.

What is too big for me to understand and too much for my heart to hold is not too big for HIM.

He is not helplessly wringing His hands over the statistics and news and debates that frighten and confuse me. He does not cry out, “I don’t know what to do!” (or “think” or “believe”)

Last night I drove my girls east to soccer practice. As I turned to head home, dusk kept pace with me. The shrouded sky behind gradually ate up the sunset in front.

But then I noticed that Venus, visible even in the last of daylight, shone even brighter after it was surrounded by night.

I am not left alone in the dark. WE are not left alone in the dark.

The Morning Star still shines, and He will not be overwhelmed.

When I focus my eyes on the Him, my uncertainties and fears shrink in their power. I still have them, but they lose their grip on me. They do not crush me.

So, right now (and again and again in the future), I “ask for help from the One who did all this.” I “consider the One who planned this long ago.” I turn to the Light.

“…Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’”

NOTES: SO many beautiful passages that speak of God bringing light into darkness and Christ being light in the darkness. I’ve listed just a few below.

Psalm 18:28 For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.

Daniel 2:22 (H)e reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.

Micah 7:8 Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.

Matthew 4:16 the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”

Luke 1:76-79 (Zechariah singing a prophetic song over his son John)

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us[h] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 12:46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

I John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

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