Darkness seems to surround us like a heavy blanket. It seems to be the constant, ever present shadow that hangs over us. Seems like everyone I talk to is in the fight of their life. Two of my closest friends have family members that are suicidal and fighting major mental and emotional issues. One of my daughter’s friends has a brother that’s battling the same thing. As my loved ones try to stand in the gap and come alongside their hurting family members, they’ve reached out to me. They need someone to talk to, to pray with them, to help shoulder the burden, and I’m blessed and honored that they’ve chosen me. But the darkness….
Some days it feels like the darkness will win. At every turn there’s another hill to climb, another river to cross, another fire to walk through, another giant to fight. It becomes overwhelming and exhausting. The appears to be no reason behind the suffering. And it’s not just my friends and family it’s my life too. About the time I start making progress with my health and getting a direction mapped out, a half a dozen other obstacles show their nasty little heads. I was diagnosed with dysautonomia, so my blood pressure is too low, and my heart rate is too high. No big deal, increase your salt and water intake and that should help. Come to find out I also have ankylosing spondylitis (my immunes system attacks my spine causing it to fuse together) and salt causes flare up for me. Not the best news but immune suppressant therapy will help that. Of course, that depletes your immune system so I’m now prone to catch everything and at the first sign of infection I must start anti-biotics and postpone treatment. I feel like I’m picking between poisons. And yet….
As I listen to my loved ones talk about their struggles and heart ache, I hear them constantly mentioning little “coincidences” that keep happening. Little rays of sunshine that keep breaking through the darkness. A stranger bringing flowers, a message from the pastor that “just happens” to address the exact issue, a loved one calling at just the right time, and the list goes on. And same is true in my life. I had a rough day and came home to find flowers from my aunt awaiting me with a note, “just to bring some sunshine to your day.” A friend that I hadn’t talked to in a while sending a text that they are thinking of me and praying for me. Little “coincidences”. Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “A coincidence is a small miracle when God chooses to remain anonymous.” I don’t know if I completely agree with this. But like a toddler with cotton candy fingers, I believe that coincidences are God’s fingerprints on our lives. His way of showing us that He hasn’t left us, and He cares about us even in the darkness. So, Einstein might not be too far off, coincidences don’t shout God’s glory from the roof tops, but His sticky fingerprints can be seen everywhere if we just stop to look.
Darkness can not defeat the light; the light always overcomes darkness. In all reality it’s not even a fair battle. When you turn on a light in the dark there’s not a sluggish oozing of light that steadily overcomes the dark corners, but an instantaneous engulfing of darkness. We have a choice, we can look for the dark corners, or hide under the bed with all the monsters, or we can search out the light in these dark moments. It’s there, we just have to open our eyes to see it. I love in 2 Kings when Elisha’s servant was freaking out because when they woke up one morning they were surrounded by Syrian army. His servant came running to him pointing out the very obvious army surrounding them, and Elisha said “’Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:16-17) God’s got an army surrounding us that we can’t see and all to often forget about. We know the way the story ends. God wins. He uses all these “coincidences,” all the pain, all the struggles to His glory and for His perfect end.
My daughter got to fly for the first time this year and as we flew over a cloud bank the sunshine streamed in through the window. The people below us were experiencing a gloomy, grey day because of the thick cloud covering, but we were drenched in the light of the sun. I’m afraid all too often this is the way we see life versus God’s view. We focus on the right here right now. The cloud bank covering the sun, instead of the bigger picture. The rain that was falling was bringing nutrition to the earth and allowing it to produce food, flowers, and all sorts of things for our enjoyment and survival. King David realized that no matter where he went, or what life looked like, God would be there and be in control. Psalm 139:7-12 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.” No matter what befalls me or my loved ones, His hand will hold me, and His light will shine through the darkness.
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