Saturday, July 30, 2016

When Darkness is My Closest Friend...How do We Respond?

My new book is with the designer right now, and all formatting and cover should be fully completed soon! Then off to the publisher, and it should be out and available within a week. I love the cover. It is my painting, and despite the warning some people said that this makes it look like a kid's book (it's not), I love the painting for the book cover. If you want to be sure not to miss its launch, sign up on my mailing list and I will send you an update when it goes live!

Just click HERE.

I am very excited, as I always am when a new book comes out, but I'm already feeling the pressure to get going on the next one. However, it would be nice to take a break and just read some good books for a change! I always read a little before going to bed, but soon fall asleep. I don't roar through books anyone. In the past, before so much of my time was taken up writing, I was a voracious reader. So I may recharge by settling down with some old favorite authors and soaking up their wonderful prose.

I was just getting cozy last night in my recliner to start my relaxing reading time, when I was sidetracked by a series of texts regarding the mamas I work with through my work as a sidewalk counselor at an abortion center. My friend and wonderful baby shower organizer, Sheryl and I were exchanging emails and texts trying to schedule a slew of baby showers for moms who had recently chosen life. Meanwhile, three of the mamas were texting me: one just had a baby, another is still in labor (two days and counting!), and then sadly, a third just miscarried.

That was terribly sad. This was a mama I had been counseling regularly about putting her faith and trust in Jesus, and in the truth of the gospel. What will this miscarriage do to her ember of faith? There was nothing I could say to her except I was very sorry, I wished I were there to hug her, and I would pray for her. I told her if she ever wanted to talk, just call. I am always available.

We often wonder if the moms we work with have really miscarried, or did they abort? However, this mama had just texted me a few days before asking when the baby shower would be, and thanking me for arranging it with Sheryl. She had been asking so many wonderful questions about God, including what someone who wanted to accept Jesus as Lord should pray. I don't think she aborted. Sadly, I think she really did miscarry.

It doesn't make sense. This woman was very conflicted, but once she decided to choose life for her little baby, everything changed. She was so grateful and so excited. Why would God allow her to lose the baby now?

I don't pretend to know. My new book is about how completely alien species can still communicate, especially through the universal language of love. God is love. He has communicated that loud and clear in His Word, in His creation, and in His provision. Nonetheless, sometimes events overwhelm us, and we question does He really love me? If He does, why this? In Psalm 88, the psalmist cries,

13But I cry to you for help, Lord;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14Why, Lord, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?

15From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
16Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
17All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
18You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend.

We have all been there. I sure have, anyway. I call out to God, and He doesn't seem to be paying any attention. I am engulfed by a flood of terror and despair. Why does God not lift me from the raging sea of grief? I feel abandoned, and all that is near me is darkness. It closes around me, suffocating all hope and joy. Psalm 88 is a cry of utter dejection and loss.

And then we reach Psalm 89!

1I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
through all generations.

2I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

What happened? Somehow, even in the midst of the undeniable sadness, darkness, evil, and  inevitable struggles in life, God demonstrates His great love and faithfulness. Perhaps it is through the kindness of those who love God and speak words of comfort. Maybe it is through an inexplicable peace despite unchanged circumstances. Maybe it is through an unexpected miracle. Often for me, it is through dwelling on His promises and remembering how faithful He has been to bring me so often through the storm I was sure would fell me once and for all.

No one enjoys being in the darkness, where our eyes are unable to discern where we should go to emerge safely out of it. It helps me to remember that God who made the darkness, also made the light.

Last night, I had a strange dream that seemed to last all night. I was traveling with a wounded woman, and I knew I had to get her to a doctor. First, I had trouble finding the doctor's phone number, and then we were trapped in the wrong vehicle, and then we got lost en route. Once we arrived to the general location, many people misdirected us and we couldn't find the doctor's office.

Just as we finally reached the correct office door, the doctor emerged, locking the door.
"Wait! Wait!" I called, "We are late but we tried to call and couldn't reach you! Please, help us!"
The doctor looked at the woman, and pronounced her healed instantly. Then he shook my hand, slipping a large sum of money into it. Instead of me having to pay him...he paid me.

THIS is the Lord who enters into my darkness and rescues me, just as He rescues you. No matter how lost, or impeded, or misdirected, if we keep seeking Him, we will find Him. There is nothing we can do to repay Him for what He has granted us. The incredible, glorious irony is He pays for us!

I often don't understand the darkness, but I know the One who dispels it.

John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

Isaiah 9:2 

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. 

Psalm 18:28 

For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.

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