14 January 2016
I was reading Genesis today, and upon reading the account of creation, I was struck by something I had never noticed before –
The world started in darkness.
The whole story of the Bible – the story of us – begins with darkness. “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. . .” (Gen. 1:2). But then in verse three, God creates the light which penetrates the darkness.
I wonder if God did that on purpose? I mean, God’s God, so He could have easily started the story with light, right? But He didn’t. I wonder if God intentionally did this to show us that darkness never wins. “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5). And that even in the darkness of this messy and broken life, He is with us. “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2).
I wonder if God’s choice to create light after darkness is symbolic of the grace and the presence of God in our dark and broken world. In the hurt and the pain and the sorrow, Light still shines through the darkness, and the darkness will never overcome it.
Three days after I wrote this in my journal, I woke up in severe pain. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t even dress myself. My normal life as a 19-year-old college student became an anything-but-normal life with a mysterious illness. Thus, began a journey of the blackest nights, paralyzing fears, and grace-filled light.
It has now been four-hundred-and-sixty-two days. But while I have spent every one of those days in pain, that is 462 days of God’s grace permeating every cell of my being. In my deepest pain, God’s glory has been revealed to me in ways that I have never known before. I have experienced His patience, His grace, His strength in every last fear-filled moment. In my weakness, Christ’s strength has been made known to not only me, but hopefully to everyone around me who has witnessed my illness this past year.
Since that first painful morning alone in my college dorm room, I have been diagnosed with pelvic floor dysfunction, fibromyalgia, and have received a pre-diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. What this means for me is that the rest of my life will be spent in constant limbo. Some days, I will experience severe pain, weakness, and fatigue among a whole host of other symptoms, and other days, I will feel but a twinge of pain. My life will be in a state of the unknown and un-control. And that’s scary. But that’s life, right? That’s the life every one of us experience. Maybe you don’t experience physical pain on a daily basis like I do, but I know you feel a very real emotional pain. I know there are days when life is just too much and you don’t have the strength to take one more step. I know there are moments when you are so utterly exhausted of fighting the battles of this world that you can barely stay awake to face one more. We all experience these very real, very powerful days of darkness. And the shadows of this world are all the more threatening when we lack control and we honestly don’t know how the journey is going to end. Oh, but darling, look back to the story of creation…
There was nothing. Absolutely nothing. In the beginning, God was staring at pure, unadulterated nothingness. He was staring into the darkness of the unknown. And then, with just His voice, our God created light. Oh, what glorious light it must have been! If I have learned nothing else from this season of my life, I have learned that my God is a God of the unknown. If He can take the darkness of nothingness and create all of this – the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the streams, the stars of the sky and the flowers of the field – then just think of all that He can do with the unknown of my life! In the darkness of my worst days, when it is all I can do to just take one more breath, God is the glorious light of grace.
Grace for one more breath.
Grace for one more step.
Grace for another smile, another laugh.
Grace for one more day.
God is a God of creation. A God of beginnings. A God of the unknown. In my darkest unknown, I find grace in surrendering it all to the God who knows. And in the moment, I will not be overwhelmed, for “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5).