Friday, November 25, 2011

On The Other Side of the Shadows

All kids are afraid of the dark. There may be some exceptions of steel plated souls, forged in the molten lava of courage, but I have never met one. I was no different. The things I could not see scared me every time I encountered them. Darkness is scary. No one wants to be blind. No one wants to bare themselves vulnerable. It is too hard to trust people. There are too many scary things out there.

Every kid has a moment when they grow up a little and take a step into something they can't see through. They let go of their mother's hand and step out into the unknown if only for a second. One day curiosity overcomes the fear and we have to know, even if the consequence is destruction. We must see for ourselves. The Prodigal Son was all about this in the Bible. This kid that used to hold his fathers hand and trust everything he said, one day decides that he must at all costs experience what is out there himself. I can relate. I can see why. I think the moral is that we all can see why. We all have had periods of our lives when wisdom was not enough. It was not enough to know the truth, we must experience it ourselves. How did it end?

For me, I was raised in church...literally in church. My brother and I spent more time in churches than in our home I think. We had Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, Monday nights, and the others were singing practice for my mom and her sidekick, Joy. We knew all about church. We knew their various doctrines and creeds. We knew what they stood for and what they damned. We knew all the rules and which hoop to jump through. We knew all the words to "This Little Light Of Mine" and never to participate in the "Tall man" portion of "Where Is Thumbkin." We knew that preachers got sweaty and shouted a lot. We knew that their wives were always in charge of the bake sales and whatever else didn't require preaching. We knew there was more to the story.

I didn't want to live that way. I didn't want what they offered, at least the way they portrayed it. I wanted something bigger, and less defined. I wanted something that reached inside of me and grabbed hold. So I let go. I let go of my mother's hand and took a step into the darkness. Wanna know what I found?

Darkness. I found more darkness. I got lost quickly and terribly. I didn't find what I wanted out there. Out there was more pain and suffering...more than I had ever been through. I was given more than my share of death. It ended sitting in a rocking chair writing my letter of resignation to my life. The darkness was exactly what the devil wanted for me. I thought I wanted it because the devil was in the "Light" too.

The problem with resisting the devil is that he comes as an angel of light. He sits in churches. He sits in Bible studies. He sits in soup kitchens waiting for us...telling us that He is the remedy to our blindness. For a minute, it seems as though he is until we find ourselves in darkness again.

I ran too far from the light. I had seen the devil in the light, so I wrote off the light as evil. I gave up on the good crop because there were weeds, and fled to the place that produces nothing but weeds. That is how I got to the bottom of who I never thought I could be. I got to the devil. I stood with him face to face, exchanging our anger...exchanging rage at God. I was enticed.

I was wrong.

I didn't know it until I found myself saved despite my best efforts to sleep in hell. I had to surrender. That God that I had grown to hate was not the God represented to me by the weeds looming in the light, but by those driven from the darkness.

My life and upbringing was not so bad. Nothing was terrible. I had friends and a small family that loved me dearly. It just wasn't enough. There was too much out there for me to hate. The things in the darkness were the very things I wanted most. I wanted a father, but he lived in the dark and had fled before I was even born. I wanted the stability others had around me when they spoke of their huge families and growing up together in the same schools. I wanted these things I didn't have so bad that I forgot what I did have in the light. I had a loving mother and four loving brothers. Right now, I can honestly say that is all I ever needed and would ever ask for. I wish I would have seen that then. But in the light, I do now. None of them were perfect. None of them were without mistakes, but they were my armor.

Sometimes in the light, we have to sift through the darkness and pray for discernment between the two. They become cloudy at times, but be assured that the devil is trying to destroy what God has lovingly given you.

Protect what God has given you with your life. This is not a story of how things happened, but how it happens. The Bible says that sin is crouching at your door, waiting to devour you.

To devour you.


Thanks for reading...Z