Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The darkness

As I've listened to the narration in our Christmas musical, there has been one line that consumes my thoughts. The author writes of darkness. The times in life where things seem so dark and dreary that you can't even see your hand in front of your face, are you familiar with these? Been there. Done that. Two particular situations weigh on my mind tonight. One -- two special friends with desires in their hearts that now seem unfulfilled. Two -- a group of young people who've experience unimagineable heartache in the past 14 months. In both situations, I know God is there. I know God has a plan that is far beyond anything I could ever imagine or come up with myself. The plan I think would be best, is obviously not the best. That's not the way He's working right now. I can't help but reflect back to a song from my youth choir days that declared, "when you can't trace His hand, trust His heart." Although, I'm not in the midst of this dark night, some of those that I love dearly are experiencing that pain and hurt. I know they are children of God. I know they have declared their faith in Jesus Christ. I don't know what God's plan is. I don't know what the future holds for each of these precious individuals. I'm sure at moments, they feel as if life has just been turned upside down and may never be straightened out again. There were been times after the loss of my mother that I was sure that life would never feel "right" again. Pain, suffering, grief, sorrow...I had come to accept these as part of my life. However, my precious Father, Jehovah Jireh, El Shaddai, used this to bring me closer to His heart. You see, He never moves. It is me. I'm the mover. There have been times in a church service, when Andrew does not want to behave as I expect him to. He will continually "inch" away from me hoping to reach the point where he is out of "pinching" range. Now you know that a "church pinch" from your mama can hurt like nobody's business. Sometimes I find myself "inching" away from God. Sometimes I run. It's not because I don't love Him. It's because sometimes what I see scares me out of my mind. I forget that no matter what is in store, He is with me. He has planned my life out by the second. He has my best interest in hand. Nothing can harm me while His hand is on me. He is the very one that maintains the order in our universe. This very God sits beside me in the darkness when I can see absolutely nothing. He takes my face in His hands and whispers, "I love you." He orders my steps because he has had a plan for me from the beginning. There's nothing I can experience that He has not already conquered. So, heartache, grief, sorrow, you may be present now. But watch out, because my joy will come in the morning. It's always darkest before the dawn.

Switching directions, as I think about darkness, I think about Christ coming to Earth. Lately I've been thinking about the things I despise most. Yeah, weird, twisted, I know. You all know how warped I am. There is a purpose just stay with me. Think about the one thing you despise most. A smell, such as cigarette smoke or macaroni & cheese? A color combination, such as orange and royal blue? An animal, worms, snakes, rats? An action, deceit, hatred? One thing I despise is the smell when the sewage guys come and pump out the tank near my classroom. You see, I have a window in my classroom with a crack. Odors seem to pour through this crack like a fugitive looking for a place to hide. The stench is unimagineable. Gross. Icky. Yuck. Ewwww. Get the picture? I wondered the other day, what if I had to live with that smell all the time? I don't believe I would ever get used to it. I certainly would not choose to live in that situation. However, that's exactly what our Savior did. He despises sin. He is sinless. The thing he hates most -- he CHOSE to dwell in the midst of it for 33 years. I wouldn't make it 3 days with the sewage odor, much less 33 years. I definitely would not CHOOSE to live with that odor. My stomach turns just thinking about it. I wonder if Jesus ever felt His stomach turn when living in a sinful world. Not because of the people necessarily, but because of the sin. I know He loves us and that's why He did it. I guess that is just one more thing that amazes me about Him. He chose to inhabit the sinful planet - He chose to inhabit a place that housed the sin He despises so much. All because He was our only chance to be rescued from death and hell. What darkness God's people must have experienced in the years right before Messiah's arrival. Then He steps into humanity, not with trumpets and royal robes, but in the most humble manner possible. I said earlier, it's always darkest before the dawn.....What a magnificent dawn it was when the Messiah blessed us with His entrance as a babe in a manger. What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see -- When I look upon His face, the One who SAVED me by HIS GRACE.
He is our Deliver, Healer, Provider, Author and Finisher of our salvation! Praise be to God!