This morning we awakened to a beautiful blanket of newfallen snow shrouding the bleak winter landscape where we have come for a few days. Although I grew up in the mountains, I find myself still feeling like a child, excited by the beauty of the snow. Driving through the darkness, cold and downpouring rain to arrive, the world looked like a very different place from this morning. The change seems amost miraculous.
About midnight we were awakened by a call from our son, unable to join us, telling us about the tornado which cut a swath of destruction through Morehead City, NC. Inability to see brought by the darkness of the night and loss of electricity seemed to magnify the condition.
Thinking about these two places, miles apart – and seemingly worlds apart – reminds me of the rapidity in which change can come.
I am reminded of the words of the poet Rudyard Kipling in his classic poem, IF. “Treat these two imposters just the same.” The real world is not the world we see, whether shrouded in darkness or beauty. The real world is the one in which our loving heavenly Father reigns on high with a miriad of angels. There are no problems in that Kingdom, only plans.
Let us choose to live by faith and trust instead of by sight. Then our darkness can be transformed to day, and the bleakness of our landscape to a wonderland of beauty.
To those living through significant trauma, pain and darkness can be comforting friends. This seems a strange thing to say- antithetical really, but consider their impact on us. They force us to look into ourselves and away from the world. They pull us away from our familiar surroundings and help us to examine uncharted territory where we may just encounter hidden treasure- the presence of God. This treasure is never far off, but we seldom look in the right places for it. Being sequestered by pain and darkness is sometimes a powerful incentive to search for something deeper. This is often a daunting process, however. In our unbelief, we sit longingly near the window searching desperately for some sign of light to escape the darkness. We cling to each telltale ray seeping between the blinds. We curse God when His hand brushes us away from the window, never noticing His tears as He does so. We want so desperately to escape the darkness that we nearly trample the gentle Spirit of Grace whose touch is so light that we can barely sense it brushing against us.
How long must we sit in the darkness before we can see? How long before we begin to feel and listen? How long before we surrender to the darkness learn to wait upon the Lord? How long will we ignore the voices at the door urging us to escape? Do we have the courage to search for the hidden beauty that awaits discovery behind the thick curtain of darkness? If we choose to submit, we will find ourselves enveloped by the beauty of the night. For it is surely there, that our hope is found. In the solitude of the dark night of the soul- the treasure of God awaits.