“It never gets dark here,” I overheard her say talking to her long distance friend on the phone and from her seven-year-old perspective she was right. We draw curtains and close blinds to block out the city lights here at night. By contrast, the home we left back on the suburban prairie is blanketed in star-studded darkness every night. She’s seven and doesn’t differentiate between artificial and natural light sometimes. It all brightens her night. It all allows her to see through the dark.
Here in this place I’m learning to differentiate artificial light from real light. What I’m discovering is that I’ve grown used to living in well lit places. No life is without challenge and difficulty (and I (we) had them) but there’s something about being surrounded by familiar and reliable people and places that prevented me from having to reach too far. When life grew dark, flip- I’d reach for a switch and flip on a comforting light. The light switches I’d turn on weren’t artificial or fake, they’re just reflections of a greater Light. God is love and heaven if real, so reflections of those things aren’t artificial but we do need to know their Source. We need to know their source of “goodness” because they’re not guaranteed, but their Source is.
It doesn’t take long to grow used to convenient light switches. My eyes adjusted to
comfortable living in reflected light with neighbors who love us well, dropping kids off at schools where I could predicted their challenges with pretty good accuracy, grocery stores with full-size parking spots, affordable housing options, coaches and teams who knew my kids by name and skill, culture underlined with faith and family, a collection of Anthropologie and Starbucks mugs filling designated cabinets to remind of us generous friends and memorable travels, almost every major highway leaving our city led us to family a short drive away, and a church we called home because it felt like it; all good, rich, wonderful parts of a beautiful life.
Uncertainty of our timeline and next ‘home’ looks dark today and unfamiliarity in a crowded city grows dark day after day. Starting school from our apartment table without a community and back-to-school photos looks dark this month. Since light switches are fewer and far between right now (and I’m thankful for each and every one), God is adjusting my vision to see Him as my unchanging source of light in a fresh way. I’m relying on His Word to guide my heart. Cliché’ faith-isms are dropping off by the day as I read words like these in Psalm 71: 14-15, “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day” and these in Romans 5:3-5, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.”
Here’s Light and Truth for today: everything I’ve preached, written, parented, taught, and believed about God is not less true in dark circumstances, it’s more true. His Word, His presence, His Grace…it’s brighter than ever before. In our unraveling, grace is like a light flooding the darkness. And those light switches…yah, I reach for the ones I still have and are thankful they’re there…FaceTime with loved ones, good health, a rewarding career for hubs that gives us opportunities like this one, gorgeous weather in BC, a house on the suburban prairie 2000 miles away waiting for us, a hobby/job I can do from anywhere, and 3 amazing kids who have ROLLED through these uncertainties like rock stars, but I’m seeing them for what they are and God for who He is.
Our circumstances aren’t well lit right now. Our future location and whereabouts is dim, at best, but it’s bright here in a way I can’t always explain. Hope is like that, we can’t always define it but it gives us vision for seeing through the dark when fix our eyes on it.
Thank you for your texts, FB and IG messages, phone calls, FaceTimes, and most of all prayers. You have no idea (unless I’ve told you) how timely they all have been an what an answer to prayer you are in our lives! Go flip a switch and give thanks for its Source!