Darkness Before Dawn

I came across a definition recently that caught my attention:

Nyctophobia: Fear of the dark

Fear of the dark is a common fear or phobia among children and, to a varying degree, adults. A fear of darkness does not always concern darkness itself; it can also be a fear of possible or imagined dangers concealed by darkness.”

Lately I’ve been teaching and musing a lot of the seasons of life and faith. If you read last month’s newsletter you might remember that they happen both to us, and through us. In other words, sometimes we are blindsided by an event (or diagnosis), or we are meandering along and realize it’s time to take a hard right turn. Either way, it’s critical to go through a process.

In my many recent conversations around seasons, it seems to be a particularly dark season for most. So in praying about what to write this month I want to shed light on the JOY available to all of us in allowing the darkness to do its deeper work. Just like the metaphorical “walls” in our lives, the only way out is through. No, not busting through, but waiting through . . . Watching through . . . Becoming through the winter that always, in Christ, leads to another spring.

A light shines on in the darkness, a light that darkness cannot overcome. - John 1:5

Job, in his unfathomable grief, equates death to darkness, or “the land of deepest night, of deep shadow and disorder, where even the light is like darkness.” (Job 10:22) What captures my heart about Job’s experience is that even though his soul is immersed in darkness, he doesn’t deny that light still exists. It’s just imperceptible. In faith he knows it’s there, but he can’t see it, or sense it, which might be worse because we tend to judge our nearness to Jesus by how we feel.

Here’s what my own shadowy experiences have taught me about how to thrive in the darkness: stop trying to overcome it. It’s not an enemy to be conquered but an experience to be endured, with hope. If God has allowed you to walk through a period that feels like the darkest night, then rest assured that His light is still present - but you can’t try to become it. Instead, your job and my job is to trust that just enough light is still there, the Holy Spirit is near, and focus on allowing the discomfort, disorder and stillness to transform you. In Christ, even our darkest seasons are backlit.

I’m prone to making meaning out of every circumstance. One of the greatest lessons darkness has taught me is that meaning isn’t meant to be fabricated, but discovered. I’m off to teach yoga where I love to help people hold a space for the questions only God can answer in His way and time. Keep asking, keep believing and keep becoming. It’s always darkest before the dawn!

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