I’m sure we’re all no strangers to darkness. It can take many forms–pain, anger, difficulty. It’s pretty much anything negative in our lives personified. Darkness can be difficult to overcome, especially when it takes the form of depression, hurt, anxiety, and any emotional difficulty we may face. In fact, these can be some of the hardest types of darkness to overcome, at least in my experience.
I don’t want to try to give you trite advice or tell you your pain doesn’t matter, because it does. And sometimes, no matter how well-meant, encouraging words don’t help. Just know that whatever darkness you face, it’s perfectly valid.
So now that we’ve covered what I don’t want to do, here’s what I do want to do: I want to talk about the light.
“Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.”
― Groucho Marx
This is one of my new favorite quotes, and it reflects a concept I’ve been told a lot–our brokenness is beautiful and God works through it. In church you could hear it referred to as beauty from ashes, or joy out of suffering. The basic idea is that, even though darkness is terrible, God is with us through every inch of our journey, and He can turn the things that hurt us into things that are absolutely beautiful. While I’m no expert in this yet, I do know that God can work through everything bad in our lives and turn our struggles into something beautiful. And our darkness into light.
Not only that, but struggling, or being cracked, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I know it can be perceived that way. It’s a bit of a negative word. But as Groucho Mark said, “Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.”
I need God’s light in my life. I crave it. And if continuing to struggle with my darkness–chronic illness and health issues–is what lets in God’s light, then so be it.
Another thing is, God doesn’t see us as cracked. He sees us as whole and beautiful, because He loves us so much. That’s something incredibly powerful. He loves us just as we are and takes us beyond. Not only does God turn our struggles into something better, He does that with us too. There’s absolutely nothing we have to do to achieve that, by the way, except sit in His presence and let His light in.
“Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.
These, our bodies, possessed by light.
Tell me we’ll never get used to it.”
― Richard Siken
God’s light is something incredibly transformative. The power of grace is that we don’t have to do anything to get it, besides accepting it. It’s like the sun–we never asked for it to be there or begged it to stay. But it’s there, lighting up our whole lives. Please, take some time to sit in God’s light today and know how much He loves you.
“You know how I see it? There’s always going to be bad stuff out there. But here’s the amazing thing–light trumps darkness, every time. You stick a candle in the dark, but you can’t stick the dark into the light.” — Jodi Picoult
And, then there’s this quote, which basically says that darkness has nothing against the light. Our struggles, and our adversary Satan, have nothing against us because we have Jesus. In the end, the light wins.
Scientifically, it’s a lot easier to measure light than it is to measure darkness. I’m sure you’ve heard it said that darkness is only the absence of light. It truly is. Light has much more power and will always overcome our darkness. Always. Even if it takes forever, things will get better. I promise.
“When you get to the end of all the light you know and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.”
― Edward Teller
In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, there is a scene where Indiana Jones is at the edge of a cliff, and there is nothing below him. Following the instructions of the book he’s following, he realizes that he has to take a leap of faith. Bravely, he steps out into what looks like nothing. Afterwards, he realizes that the ground had been painted to look like a cavernous abyss, when in reality it was solid all along.
I don’t know what else to say with this quote because it sums it up so perfectly. The darkness of the unknown can be particularly scary. I take comfort in knowing I have Jesus by my side.
“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”
― Francis of Assisi
On your darkest nights, with tears and panic attacks, tell yourself this: the darkness cannot extinguish you. Jesus is here. Your light will not be put out. Remember that.
“Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
― Dylan Thomas
Whatever you do, fight for the light, hold onto it with everything in you. Out of anything else, fighting for the light is a noble cause. In The Lord of the Rings, light is an almost constant metaphor as the Fellowship goes through their various battles and intense journeys. So too has God given us light–Himself, His Word, our friends, the world’s beauty, and His voice. Remember that. Hold on to these things. As Galadriel says in The Lord of the Rings, “May it be a light to you when all other lights go out.”