Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Dazzling Darkness

“We may feel we have lost Christ and fear that he will never return. Now it is difficult to connect two thoughts about him. Prayer has become artificial. Words spoken to him ring hollow in our empty soul. Worse, oppressive feelings of guilt sharpen the sense of loss. Night closes in around us. We have failed him. It is all our fault.” – Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus

Today’s post is very near to my heart. It is difficult to articulate the dark night, but I have come to trust and know that the dark night isn’t really “night” at all….it is more perfectly stated, as described by Brennan Manning in his book The Signature of Jesus, as the dazzling darkness. Those of you that have experienced or are experiencing what I am expressing today will understand. And I am in desperate prayer to the Father that what He explains will penetrate all of our hearts with a trusted Truth about the experiences of the “dazzling darkness” in our lives.

My family has a cabin just outside Breckenridge in Colorado. Love that place. There have been some precious times spent in that cabin with my family and I could write an entire post about the memories made in that beautiful oasis. However, today I want to describe the nights. There have been times when we have arrived after the 12-14 hour road trip in the middle of the night. The dark that surrounds you is unbelievable. When it is winter the snow absorbs most of the light and makes it somewhat brighter, however in the summer it is D-A-R-K. Driving down the winding mountain roads can be pretty scary when it is that dark, even with headlights! I love coming in at night though. I love it because after you have spent what seems like an unending amount of time in the car, you emerge into the darkness of the forest only to look up and be dazzled by the light of an infinite cascade of stars! It’s awesome. You look up and realize that it isn’t really dark at all. It’s actually an almost indescribable dazzling darkness.

A couple of posts ago I was describing the feelings we can associate with not being worth remembering. Feeling that you are alone and left to die in the darkness can be very real. I am going to ask you to go a layer deeper with me today in that I am not talking about a literal darkness here. Like, you slept with a Rainbow Bright night light all growing up and when no one is looking you still pull in out and plug it in.  No, today I want you to look into your heart or circumstance either presently or in the past and associate those feelings of anxiety of being in the dark without your night light, to being in the dark without a “soul” night light.

It is a place where maybe you have been skipping along in life and feeling pretty good about things. You love the Lord, attend church, faithfully serve, faithfully give etc. Or maybe you experience a loss, a heartache or a seperation from the life you have always known.  One day the night light goes out. Relationships seem distant. Connection with the Lord is rarely experienced like you have known it before. You feel aimless in your attempts at accomplishing goals that used to be effortless. You as a person suddenly feel gravely misunderstood or worse that you have somehow missed the mark and messed up big-time. You start to believe the lie that YOU have misunderstood life and that there is no place for you. Because all you see is dark, which leads to more dark, which seems to lead to yet another dark room and somewhere along the way you start to believe the dark. That kind of dark night can swallow any daughter up, it almost swallowed me.

Maybe it’s a place where the night light has always seemed burned out. Maybe you feel as if your entire life has been in a constant dark night and there is zero dazzle to it. Maybe you’ve tried to share your feelings and only been met with confusion or rejection. In a very real sense you might have even spent a life time surrounded by thousands of people and always felt alone and in the dark.

Obviously in a single blog post I will not be able to expound on this intimate topic as much as I would like to, however I am praying that the little that I express will result in the Spirit cultivating your spirit to respond to the dark in a different way today.

Believe it or not, if you will release the “self”, the limitations, the aloneness, the weariness, the desperation, the thirst for intimate connection, the desire for empowerment to go on, the feelings of being misunderstood, confused, and the feelings of abandonment that whisper to your heart within the hollows of the darkness and surrender in humility asking the Lord to reveal Himself in lovingkindness I promise your dark night will start to emerge as a dazzling darkness. Your circumstances may not change. Please hear me…..your circumstances may not change, but if you can adjust your perspective and use it as a time to EARNESTLY seek the King you will establish a much brighter light than that Rainbow Bright night light. You will establish a soul light.

I highly suggest you reading The Signature of Jesus if for nothing else than to read chapter 7. Within the paragraphs of that chapters he states, “God’s love and mercy have not abandoned us. Clouds may shroud us in darkness, but above, the sun shines bright. God’s mercy never fails. The Christian who surrenders in trust to this truth finds Jesus Christ in a new way. It marks the beginning of a deeper life of faith where joy and peace flourish even in the darkness, because they are rooted, not in superficial human feelings, but deep down in the dark certainty of faith that Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever”

In my experiences of dazzling darkness, and yes I said experience”s” because it has caught me much more than once in my life, I have both grown and have stalled out.

When I have grown it is because I have humbled myself before the Lord, surrendered to His care, sought out the lessons He wishes to teach me while I’m there, quieted my spirit, trusted His hand and been as honest as I can be about my feelings to Him. It has required that I release the white knuckle grip I have on my life and live with my hands open to Him. It has taught me that no matter how hard it is that in order to illuminate the darkness I have to forgive and release, to seek and to pray, to submit and obey. That is a dazzling darkness.

But unfortunately I can say that I have had times of darkness where it has remained just that, darkness. Because of my rebellion, unwillingness to submit to the Lord, offer forgiveness, seek God’s will, or just make a choice not to obey it….it stays black. Pretty much remains a dark night.

Your dark doesn’t have to remain night. If you will allow it to it can become dazzling. Ladies, please don’t EVER buy the lie that the Lord will leave you or that you are alone in the dark…I can guarantee you will have the worst buyer’s remorse. If you have offered your life to Christ and become His daughter there is NOTHING that can separate you. If you have not become His daughter and given your life over to His adoring salvation He is with you and He is waiting to dazzle the darkness, please don’t wait for salvation. Accept His lavish love and illuminate your night.

Take the time to memorize this scripture with me today. Write it on a post it note and put it EVERYWHERE if you have to so there is no room for darkness. Dazzle your dark with God’s unfailing Word.

“But in ALL these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am CONVINCED that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

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