There is something soothing, something peaceful about darkness at the end of the day. When night falls, I know rest is coming and I don't mind the darkness. There are also times when darkness isn't soothing. Sometimes it seems as though darkness is chasing you and you run for fear of being swallowed whole. This kind of darkness can come through the evil of this world, the darkness in the souls of others, grief, and depression to name a few. How we face the darkness can make all the difference. How we teach our children to face the darkness now, will shape how they face it on their own in the future.
We have had some bouts of darkness this past week. There have been moments when I have wanted to get rid of all communication with the outside world and just be left alone. I can't. The kids have been with me and witnessed the same darkness and I have to show them what to do. I have to set an example. We've experienced the darkness of family members who use their words as weapons to destroy each other. This week has brought the darkness of grief as we have said goodbye to a special place full of precious memories and a beloved pet. Our community continues to experience the darkness of a suspected murderer running loose in the area. Six weeks of searching and the police still can't catch him. Helicopters hovering low over our homes, schools closed, and Halloween cancelled...people shaking with the darkness of fear and the last reported citing of him was not far from our home! So how do I show the kids how to face darkness?
I must teach them to stay in the Light. Notice, I didn't say run into the Light. I said STAY in the Light. in John 8:12 Jesus says, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." They need to stay connected to Christ, consistent in spending time with Him, and continuously following Him in their daily lives. To run into the Light would mean that we were far enough away from Him to necessitate a mad dash to safety. If we STAY in the Light we are never so far away that we need to run from the darkness.
If we stay in the Light then we become vessels for that Light to shine through in this dark world. I can show my children how to be the Light of Christ, and how to bring the comfort of His light into other people's darkness, by doing so myself. It's easier to look the other way. It's easier to hide, than it is to see a person who is a walking disaster and plow straight into their mess. Some people's messes are so big that it's like watching someone in a pit of mud, in the dark of night, unable to see or get solid footing to stand up and walk out. They just keep slipping, sliding, rolling in it. Do we stand on the sidelines for fear of being swallowed by the darkness and getting dirty, or do we climb in after them and lift them out? Why fear darkness and filth if we have been staying in the Light? If Jesus is the Light and we are following Him, then we have the Light of life with us to penetrate the darkness and to illuminate the lives of others who are trapped in it. My children need to know that it is important not to run away from those struggling in the darkness. Instead, I must show them how to run to them, bringing the Light that is Christ.
If we stay in the Light there is no need to fear the darkness. Psalm 27:1 says, "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?" Then there is Psalm 91:1 "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty." Is there any safer place to be? Is there any safer place to be than in the shelter of the Most High, hidden in His shadow? That is where we are when we stay in the Light...hidden in His shadow and sheltered. The world can freak out around us but we will be at peace knowing that He has us in His grip. The only way to teach my children to stay in the shelter of the Most High is to do it myself, because if I stay sheltered then God's peace and presence will fill me and flow through me to them and they will feel safe. Then they will know what I know...God knows where the suspected murderer is. The police may not, but God does. There is no darkness so dark that God cannot see. Psalm 139:10-12 puts it this way, "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 light is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You."
To stay in the Light is to carry around in our very being the treasure that is Christ. " For God, who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves." 2 Corinthians 4:6-7. When we carry around in our "earthen vessels" the Light that is Christ, we carry the power of Christ within us. Christ is the answer...has always been the answer. Christ is the answer to how we face the darkness. He is the answer that I want my girls to see in how I face darkness. I want them to see that the Light is always more powerful than any darkness that we face.
We all experience darkness from time to time. We can choose to hide from it, run from it, or participate in it. We can also choose to face it and bring the light that is Christ into the midst of it. My prayer is that God will help me to respond to the darkness by bringing His light and that as my girls witness this, they will know what to do when darkness comes. What about you? What darkness do you face today? Don't face it alone. Stay in the Light!