Things You See in the Dark
They were perched up on the back of the couch. Staring starry-eyed out the picture window of the living room as Pappaw was grinding on a mower blade. Sparks flew from the grinding wheel into a perfect circular fireworks display against the dark of night. Those little grans squealed with excitement as they watched something they would never have seen in the light of day.
It was magical. “What IS that Mammaw?” he asked with his adorable little-boy voice. And when I told him, “Its Pappaw, using the grinder to sharpen something” he followed with, “But I can’t SEE Pappaw.” And he was right because the beauty of the sparks were all that could be seen in the dark. Not the one who was responsible for creating them.
Later on, I relayed that moment to the “magicmaker” and he replied, “There’s lots of things you can’t see because of light.” It got me thinking. When we want to see something better, we usually turn on a light, or bring it into the light so it can be seen. Yet some things need the dark to show themselves to us. The dark can actually bring out things that are hidden by the light.
I took notice of what he said because I found it to be true. Especially in my own life as of late. Maybe in yours as well. When things were going along swimmingly, I enjoyed my walk in the light. Full of energy, hope and faith. God right there. My best Friend, being careful to thank Him and praise Him and excited to start each new day. I saw Him at work, I did. I felt His mercy and grace and compassion, new every morning. I just didn’t see what was ahead.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
1 Peter 5:8-9
When a darker day dawned, I admit I was disappointed. I didn’t ask the shake-my-fist “Why?!” But the weary and disillusioned “Why Lord?” That’s what I do, I try to find a cause and I try to make a plan and I try to control. But in the dark, I can’t see where I’m going. I can’t see my Heavenly Father in this, all I can see and hear and feel is that prowling, snarling, salivating adversary. All I feel is his hot breath on the back of my neck.
But wait, right there, in that dark place is a Presence. A peace “not as the world giveth,” (John 14:27) He tells me to not be troubled or afraid. And there He is. The Light. Shining brightly in the dark of my problem. My mess. One I may or may not have been responsible for. It doesn’t matter to Him because His love never changes however many times I make bad decisions, behave badly or things go just plain bad for no apparent reason.
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
1 Peter 5:10
Maybe even in those times, I see the Light better, because it is contrasted against the backdrop of the dark day I’m in. His Light is always there because He is true Light. (John 1:9) When I sit at the table I have set for myself and I feel alone and my appetite is gone, He knocks at the door of my heart telling me that He would like a seat at the table. All I have to do is open the door and the Light comes in. (Revelation 3:20) The Light comes into the dark room and suddenly my appetite returns. I feel like sharing a meal.
Taking in sustenance that strengthens and sharpens my faith, kind of like Pappaw did to that blade. Sparks flying everywhere.
“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17