Finding Light in the Darkness

I remember vividly as a kid playing in the backyard of my Pe-Paw’s (grandpa) house. It was a vast jungle with high trees and a forest floor that you would see in a National Geographic magazine. In reality, it was probably just a few small trees near the fence line and had just enough tree cover to block out the sun’s rays from entering through. Perception is not always reality, but it sure does have an impact on how we view things. 

My sister and I would play ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ in the “forest" that existed in the backyard. One of us would be the wolf and the other was trying to make it to grandma’s house without being attacked. It was a dark and eerie place, which was the best setting to play this game. In the dark, there is mystery. In the dark, there is always room for the unexpected. In the dark, you can get the feeling that you are alone and nobody is there to help. 

Now, the dark is great for games like Little Red, but it is great because you know you can leave that darkened forest whenever you like. Time to get some water? Just hop out. Time to go eat some lunch? Pause the game and head inside. The darkness is easy to escape in the midst of a childhood game, but when it comes to our everyday life, the darkness that exists can become crippling and overwhelming. 

There is no getting away from it. We all have dark times in our life. Times where grief becomes unbearable, loneliness sets in, and failure becomes a burden that is too heavy to carry. We have relationships that are lost, friends pass away, and we wonder if life will really get better. We wonder if the light that we once saw will ever break through this forest that we feel trapped in. We wonder why we don’t feel God’s presence and we wonder if God is even there. 

It is easy to tell someone who is in trapped and lost in this metaphorical forest, “Don’t worry, God knows what He is doing!”, “I know it is bad, but it could be worse.” or “Everything happens for a reason!” The reality is, these expressions do no good. When we are trapped inside of this forest, sometimes we need more than a friend telling us that light exists beyond the canopy above us. Sometimes we need someone to sit with us beneath the tree on those uncomfortable roots that sprawl across the floor. We need someone to be by our side in the midst of the mud, dirt, and dried up leaves. We need someone who sits with us and is there when we are ready to get up in search of this light that we once knew. Someone who will walk with us and guide us until we see the patches of light that break through the branches and warms our face as we turn our eyes up to the sky. 

In these moments, God is found. This God that once seemed so distant to us is now found in the patches of God light that shine through the darkness and radiates throughout the forest. The light of God is reflected in the loved one who wanders with us until we find our way, until we find the light that we once knew.

If and when you find yourself in the darkness, know that you are not alone and you are loved. Even when life seems dark and God seems far away, perception is not always reality. God is trying to bring light into the darkness by breaking through the thicketed canopy above and entering through the presence of a loved one who walks and wanders with us.

May you find comfort in the words of Zachariah’s prophesy from Luke 1, “Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace."

May your travels be safe as you journey through the forests of life. May you find the path of peace that brings you back to God. 

Safe travels friends, Pastor Trey

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