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No one loves walking in the dark.
Of course not. Because when you can’t see, you risk bumping and banging into all sorts of things. And when you can’t see, you freeze. Darkness tends to paralyze, to make us stop right fast and just…wait.
And in today’s fast-paced, instant gratification-seeped culture, stopping and waiting is more than just frustrating. It’s downright infuriating. No one wants to be held up. Not in our daily activities, and certainly not on our life’s ultimate path. We want to rapidly pursue the next relationship, the next career step, the next material possession or vacation or big deposit in the bank.
Darkness is confusing. It disorients. It has the potential to bring pain of what we don’t know is coming. It causes us to fumble aimlessly along a path we once knew quite well—when we could see it, that is.
Darkness can be scary. To not know where you’re going is intimidating at best. My old pastor was a former Golden Gloves winner, had hands like grizzly bear paws, and was well over six feet tall—yet openly admitted to being afraid of the dark. Because the unknown lurks in the shadows. Children fear monsters that don’t exist, while adults tend to fear the ones that do.
To be certain, no one loves the dark.
Yet, consider—when you can’t see, your other senses become heightened. Your hearing more crisp, your sense of smell sharper. Your nerves are alive with the anticipation of movement, touch, and sound. In essence, you are on high alert.
And perhaps being on high alert is more important in that moment or season of your life than comfort. More crucial than security. More imperative than knowing.
A wise man recently pointed out a Scripture to me in a way that I had never before considered. At the time, I had been struggling with an issue in my life that left me defaulting back to control, to manipulation, to desperate and misguided attempts to fill an ache in my heart and cover a gap in my life. I was in the dark over my future—the pitch black, monster-filled kind—and the not-knowing and not-able-to-fix-it-for-myself element of it all was dousing my faith cold. I was afraid my smoldering spark would go out completely.
And then I realized that sometimes, God calls us into the dark.
The scripture he shared with me is:
Isaiah 50:10-11 Who among you fears the Lordand 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.
As soon as I read it, I knew all of my anxiety-filled attempts to get out of the dark had resulted in a prideful, fearful frenzy of torch-lighting. I had been trying to light my path, rather than wait on the Lord to make my path straight. Rather than trusting His ways, I’d been relying on my own understanding.
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And since that understanding was so very limited, I’d become the equivalent of a pyromaniac. Obsessed with fire. Obsessed with light.
It’s important to note in this verse, these torch-bearers have a choice. God isn’t forcing them to do it the right way. He isn’t forcing them to stay in the dark with Him and wait. No, He’s telling them, essentially, “Go on, then. Go try it your way and see.” It’s similar to the way a loving father or mother chooses to discipline their beloved child. When you’re done arguing with them, when you’re heartbroken that they won’t just trust your judgment already, sometimes you default to that method. “Okay. Have it your way. Just watch.”
I sincerely doubt God ever actually says “I told you so” like is always so tempting for us parents to do— but for me, He didn’t have to. I’d already seen the consequences and errors of my fire-lit ways, and knew that it was time.
It was time to snuff out the torch and walk in the dark.
The bottom line remains true for all of us—that we can’t walk with Jesus when we’re blinded by the dizzying lights of this world. Lights that glow neon, radiate distraction, indulgence, idolatry, lust, pride. Lights that glow and burn and consume and distract.
We light our self-made torches in an effort to avoid our pain and struggles, yet according to this Scripture, we’re actually creating the very torment we are striving so hard to avoid.
Please. Set down your torch with me. Quit trying to do it your way, cease insisting on obtaining your next goal, your next mark, your next measure of understanding, and just stop. Stand in the darkness for a moment, regroup, and wait—until Jesus says “Now. Now it’s time. Come on. I’ll direct you from here.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledging Him and He shall direct your path.
Because deep down, as scary as the unknown can be, as intimidating as the shadows can lurk… wouldn’t you rather walk with Christ in the dark—than be alone in your light?
Betsy St. Amant has a heart for three things - chocolate, new shoes and sharing the amazing news of God's grace through her novels. She lives in Louisiana with her adorable story-telling young daughter, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of Pickle Pringles. A freelance journalist and fiction author, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is multi-published in Contemporary Romance. Her ninth Love Inspired novel will release January 2014, while her first YA novel, ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK, released 2012 through Barbour Books. When she’s not reading, writing, or singing along to the Tangled soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing and can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. You can read more from Betsy at www.betsystamant.com and www.writergetsreal.blogspot.com.