Stephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC
A New Perspective in the Dark
“You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.”
Matthew 5:16 (The Voice)
The road ahead is STILL dark.
I find comfort in the fact that Jesus is with me in the dark and that my only job at this point is to hold his hand until he moves forward, but the waiting is excruciating. So many things feel like they are piling up on me as I wait. There are of course my expectations, financial responsibilities, the opinions of those close to me, but the heaviest has been the “excitement” of friends and family around me.
For the past 6 weeks or so, in every conversation I’ve had with someone about my journey with God into new endeavors, there is inevitably a moment (every single time) when that person says, “Steph, I am so excited to see what God is going to do!”
The first few times were encouraging, even uplifting, but as the weeks have slowly passed by with little movement, these words have become like a searing hot poker into my brain every time I hear them. I know people mean well, and I’m so glad they believe in me. It’s just that very few people really understand how difficult this new journey and transition has been.
In a moment of absolute authenticity, I shared these feelings with a friend over coffee a few weeks ago. At one point she smiled and chuckled as she said, “So, at the risk of you physically harming me, I’m still going to tell you how excited I am about what God is going to do with you, and here’s why. You’ve done something that most of us are too scared to do. You’ve stepped out into the unknown with God and we are all watching to see how he is going to show up! So yes, we are all excited, deal with it.”
I did not harm her (ha!) but instead pondered her words at length through the rest of the week. I even processed them with another wise friend as well who gave me a visual to embrace. She said, “I know the road ahead of you is completely dark, but for those of us watching, we see a much different scene. It’s like each step of obedience you take into the unknown with God is a lighted stepping-stone behind you. We see this beautifully lit path of trust and obedience leading to where you are now and KNOW there are going to be more steps to come. Even if you can’t see them yet, we are certain of their existence and that’s why we’re so excited!”
As I’ve reflected on the words and visuals my loving friends have shared, I’ve come to find a new perspective in the dark.
What if the point of being with Jesus in the dark is bigger than our individual stories?
What if the purpose of being in the dark is to radiate HIS light to others by the way we trust him? Maybe as we cling tightly to his hand with no indication of when our circumstances may change we become beacons of HIS light for others to follow and move toward him?
If there is one thing I am certain of, it is that there is a world that is paying close attention to those of us who claim to follow Jesus. Some are watching to ridicule and call us hypocrites when we fail or struggle (and we will), but many are not. Many are curious because they really want to know if our hope is real and if Jesus makes a difference. No other season of our lives radiates the light of Jesus more than those times when we are in the dark with him and those watching us see it.
Let me be clear. The watching world does not need to hear us as Christ-followers spouting cliché Christian phrases about the goodness of God when life is turned upside down. There is nothing wrong if these words fall from your lips with authenticity, but there is another way that is much more profound to those watching.
When someone who loves Jesus feels the safety in their relationship with him to weep and express their lack of understanding as to what he is allowing in their lives, HIS light shines. And when that person in their pain and doubt musters through tears, “I’m so confused but I still trust you Jesus,” all of creation sees and praises God as HIS light grows brighter in our world through one of his trusting children.
The dark can definitely be a time of confusion for most of us. However, when we come to realize the dark may not be just about us, our perspective changes and hope is restored, giving us the strength to hang on to Jesus until he moves.
For Your Reflection…
Being in the dark, even with Jesus is really hard. If you are currently in the dark, is there a new perspective besides the pain of it you can hold onto for hope?