When the Lights Go Out

There were many times I thought I would be consumed by the darkness I knew. But even then there was hope - like stars - to cut through the blackness; the Light of thousands of years pointing my way home to the God I belonged to.

I curl up in the corner of the couch, watching the warm sunlight bloom into exotic sounding shades of color: gamboge, saffron, vermilion. Soon dusk will stretch across the horizon and its long purple-blue arms will take hold of the sky. It's on the cusp of night, caught between the daylight and darkness, that shadows of the past are wont to creep into memory.

As a little girl, I loved the things most little girls loved: skirts that twirled, happily ever afters and someone to tell my secrets to. But my secrets weren't like the other little girls'. Mine hurt. Mine were about nighttime and daddy's hands and the dangers of bed. They were about how being loved could hurt, on the inside and outside, and how playing pretend could make it better. I didn't know who I could tell. Grown-ups could get me in trouble; they didn't understand the games daddy played. The girls at Sunday school might tattle on me; they thought it was fun to do that. No one was safe.

I had learned that God sees and knows everything, that He is omniscient and omnipresent. I didn't have to tell Him my secrets; He already knew. On the bad nights I would ask Him to make me disappear, but I never did. After a while I thought God must be too big and too busy to bother with just me. He had a whole world brimming with people to look after. What was one little girl? Resigned to being forgotten, I began whispering my secrets into the glossy ears of a little wooden bear that stood on my nightstand. He couldn't help me, but at least he was safe.

Years went by and my parents divorced. My mother, sister and I moved away. In the move, my little bear was left behind, but all the secrets he kept came with me. I tried to outrun them, forget them, bury them, but it didn't matter. They gnawed at the edges of my waking thoughts and ran unbridled through my dreams. I felt filthy, ashamed and utterly alone. When I thought I was most unlovable, God intervened. Through the people He had surrounded me with, God showed me Himself; His faithfulness, His patience, His goodness, but mostly His love. Though I was broken, empty and ugly He loved me still. And while that frightened me at first, I wanted it anyway. There was something different about God's love. It didn't hurt the way my father's had. It was full of grace, of truth, of Christ.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5 ESV

There were many times I thought I would be consumed by the darkness I knew. But even then there was hope - like stars - to cut through the blackness; the Light of thousands of years pointing my way home to the God I belonged to. I’m not afraid of the dark anymore. Regardless of what it tries to conceal, it cannot overcome Christ. In His presence there is always light.

Author: Robin Zastrow