Faith in the Dark

 

Today I think that I need to tell you what the darkness was like.

Not because you don’t understand, but maybe because you do.

The darkness was realising one day that I had been married for almost two decades and felt nothing for my spouse

The darkness was asking endlessly ‘How did we get here?’ to which there was no answer that changed anything

The darkness was broken marriage vows

The darkness was broken hearts

The darkness was a longing for things I couldn’t have

The darkness was the confusion of finding myself deeply committed to pursuing discipleship of Christ, and yet breaking a fundamental commandment or two ( do not commit adultery, do not covet your neighbour’s husband).

The darkness was being tossed aside like a piece of rubbish

The darkness was the realisation that motherhood  and the trials of life had changed me in ways I did not want to be changed.

The darkness was watching my child suffer in pain that couldn’t be alleviated.

The darkness was trying to square the circle. 

The darkness was certainty that my marriage would end.

The darkness was the shame I felt because I wanted my marriage to end. 

The darkness was feeling that I was on the outside

The darkness was wanting to end my life

The darkness was everywhere 

Darkness limits our ability to think, to move, to act, to connect.

It isolates, frightens, diminishes and silences.

It is disorientating and the passing of time doesn’t lessen the confusion.

 

I was desperate for light. Every day I repeated to myself the promise which I wanted to believe – ‘God is enough’. I felt that I had nothing else. I believed that I was not loved by those I wanted to be loved by. I saw myself consigned to a loveless marriage. I believed I might be in the darkness for ever.The darkness was full of tears, and groans and pain. Sometimes I even scared myself with my own agonyBut I never gave up looking for the light switch.

In my search for the light, each day I turned to a celtic book of prayers and readings and I read the bible passages assigned each day.

Then one day I read this:

‘As the rain hides the stars,

as the autumn mist hides the hills,

happenings of my lot

hide the shining of Thy face from me.

Yet, if I may hold Thy hand

in the darkness,

it is enough:

since I know that,

though I may stumble in my going,

Thou dost not fall.’ Alistair MacLean

and this:

Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.… Psalm 139

To God, darkness and light are the same.

He was there in the darkness just as He is in the light.

And as I lay in the darkness I became more aware of His presence than I had ever before been in the life I’d lived in the light.  In the good times.

It was as if without the ability to see, my other senses were heightened. I felt Him. I could hear Him when he whispered. I wasn’t trying to go anywhere – I couldn’t – the darkness had me trapped, and so I did nothing but sit in the darkness, straining to feel His nearness. He held my hand.

The darkness is where I have learned the most of God. It is where I have found out who I am. I have emerged from it knowing that God is enough. That darkness and light are the same to Him. That darkness is survivable and definitely not the end. That it will likely come again, and when it does I will know to sit quietly and feel for His outstretched hand.

I’m not afraid of the dark.

 

I’ve written this account of faith in the dark to share on the day that Addie Zierman releases her book ‘Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark’. I haven’t read it yet, but I will because her previous book resonated so deeply with me. If you want to read more of my own story of  faith in darkness here is a good place to start.  

Addie has also written one of my  favourite descriptions of faith,

“It is not Before and After, a clean split, dark and light. It is gradual illumination, fireflies moving slowly toward you, softening the edge of the darkness”
Addie Zierman, When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over

Night-Driving-Synchroblog

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7 thoughts on “Faith in the Dark

  1. Thank you very much for writing this piece. I was especially struck by the statement that darkness and light are alike to God. Even when we can’t see him, he sees us, and never lets go of us. I love that Celtic prayer, too.

    Like

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