Hello Darkness My Old Friend

By Thom Hunter -- http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/

He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. -- Daniel 2:22
Here we are again, almost at the mercy of the months when darkness descends before dinner, drivers head home with headlights on, our two black dogs become just pairs of eyes waiting to be fed in the black of night and the cars on the road far below become visible again through the leafless trees. My current debate is whether to be really macho and take the chainsaw down to the woods to gather up a season of firewood . . . or just drive the pickup to the firewood lot and load up a rick for the season. I don't like the dark anymore. Not that I ever really "liked" the dark, but I was way too comfortable there. And not that the dark is always bad. We just have a way of making it so. When I was a little boy, dark was fascinating. June bugs dive-bombing under the corner streetlight, drawn to it from the dark. Hide-and-seek through neighbors'

backyards, dimly lit by porch lights. Tents pitched beneath a summer moon. The glow of the tip of my father's cigarette at the edge of the driveway. A shooting star in a dark, but speckled sky. As appealing as the dark of night was, it was the glow that made it inviting: yellow bulbs on back porches or poles, glowing campfires, burning ashes, streaking meteors, the orange, white or yellow moon in shifting shapes. Without these intruding lights, there would have been no shadows even to lend interest to the enveloping and shrouding dark. I guess, actually, that darkness is with us year round; it knows no season. One December night when I was a boy, as I walked home in the dark from a convenience store in a Houston suburb, I came upon a scene illuminated by one lone bulb. A man -- all in black from shoes to gloves -- emerging hurriedly from an apartment. His exit was preceded by a scream from behind the door. I was alone. He was alone. He stopped. I stopped. We locked eyes for one short moment and I dashed into the night, down a dark alley between buildings and raced home to my family and the brightness of our living room. Busy parents brushed aside my tale of darkness, but my sisters' eyes grew wide with the details. About 20 minutes after I arrived home, we heard Christmas carolers in front of the door and ran to throw it open. There stood a group of singers -- one of them the man, dressed in black. Once again, our eyes locked. I shrank back into the room, the song ended, the door closed, the group moved on. "He knows where I live." No, I never saw the man again. I can't remember now if a woman was murdered in the apartment down the street or if we made that up among our friends in the neighborhood. But I know I never felt the same about the dark again. It became

to me a place mysterious, a place where things often are not as they really seem, where what is not seen is filled in with imaginings. A person who struggles with sexual brokenness knows darkness and light. He or she knows what is supposed to be . . . but is far too familiar with what often is. The disconnect between what we should and could do . . . and what we've done. The clarity of the light; the confusion of the dark. The true satisfaction; the dishonest distraction. Like those June bugs, we have greeted the morning light near death on the sidewalk, worn out from going no-where, needing to be righted again so we can crawl away. I wish everyone who struggles with any form of sexual brokenness -homosexuality, sexual addiction, pornography, idolatry, relational problems -could walk once and for all into the light and have all that darkness permanently chased away from our lives without so much as casting a shadow of our former darkness. Who chooses, really, to struggle? What's the fun of tripping in the darkness? Where's the satisfaction in being scorned for falling short? Yes, the Bible tells us that we will have trouble, but can we not have some choice in the matter? All of us who struggle would like to think our last call into darkness -- whether we went there or not -- was the final one. We want to proclaim a total overcoming, a permanent move to the light. "I'm cured!" No more temptation; no more disastrous falls; no more painful failings. For some, Praise God, that may be so. After all, all things are possible with God. But, if all things are possible, then the possibilities are also endless. And it may be that the possibility for you is to endure rather than break the tape and proceed to the winner's circle. So, how should we handle the darkness if it lures us again and we start to forget again that we are designed to walk in the light, as He is in the light?

First of all: don't panic. You've been there before. The darkness should not overwhelm you. Panic is an expression of hopelessness. Prayer is a confirmation of your hopefulness. Replace the panic with the prayer. Panic requires immediate response; prayer waits. Panic denies control; prayer yields control. Secondly: break the silence. Someone somewhere needs to know about your struggle. Pray that God will reveal to you someone you can trust, a Christian friend, pastor, counselor, who can and will walk with you. And it needs to be someone who means it, who is in for the long haul, who loves you enough to stay beside you even if you stumble into darkness again. This person will help hold the light and lead you back out. Thirdly: Run "to," not "away." God is not unaware of you in your darkness. You may fool some of the people some of the time, but you fool God none of the time. You can't run or hide. You may not remember when you were a little one and you would step upon a sticker or see a spider or not notice when your mom or dad had turned a corner in a grocery store and you were suddenly all alone. When it happened, your hands would go up, your voice would cry out and your feet would move. Your focus was all on getting back to where it was safe. Running "to." Fourthly: Confess, repent . . . and rise. Okay, that's three things, but they all work together for good, for restoration, for strength, for preparation. And they chase away darkness. We have a God that outlasts every disaster into which we fall, every deed with which we undo ourselves. We have a Savior who is stronger than all our temptations and a stranger to none of them. Our weaknesses are not greater than His strength.

Our darkness is not deeper than His light. God Bless, Thom http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/

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