There are times when it seems extremely difficult, if not impossible to live life joyfully in the Lord. We know that we are “blessed to be a blessing”, but we don’t always feel blessed.
Even in the midst of being blessed, darkness can come into our lives. Being blessed doesn’t mean that we go through life without trials and tribulations. I am so very thankful that we remain blessed in the midst of difficulties and even pain.
Leighton Ford (in The Attentive Life, Multnomah, 2008) tells of a man who “walked into the darkness”.
In 1991, Jerry Sittser, a professor at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington lost three generations of his family in a blinding moment of tragedy.
He, his wife, Lynda, their four children, and his mother, Grace, had been to a Native American powwow in Idaho. As they were returning home, a car with a drunk driver going 85 miles an hour swerved and crashed into them head-on. In an instant Sittser lost his mother, his wife, and their youngest daughter.
In A Grace Disguised, Sittser describes with searing honesty what it was like to be a single father, a teacher, a counselor to others while he himself was a man bereft and torn, slipping into a black hole of oblivion and often simply wanting out.
One night he had a kind of "waking dream." The sun was setting, and he was frantically chasing after it toward the west, hoping to catch it and bring it back. But it was a losing race. Soon the sun was gone, and he "felt a vast darkness closing in."
Shortly after this, his sister Diane told him that the quickest way to reach the sun is not to go west but instead to head east, to move fully "into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise."
It was a counterintuitive insight that helped Sittser find a road to recovery: "I discovered in that moment that I had the power to choose the direction my life would head…I decided from that point on to walk into the darkness rather than try to outrun it, to let my experience of loss take me on a journey wherever it would lead, and to allow myself to be transformed by my suffering rather than to think I could somehow avoid it."
We cannot avoid suffering and pain. They are inevitable. But in the midst of it, we can choose to “walk into the darkness”, trusting that our journey will lead us to the light and grow us deeper into the Light of the World… Jesus.
James puts it this way, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Again, I pray that the Lord’s mercies will continue to abound in your life and that you will be filled with joy and prosperity. However, when a trial comes your way, may you be willing to walk into the darkness that you may see the light of dawn in your life.
Something to think about...