True confessions: I am afraid of the dark. Not regular nighttime duskiness, when my bathroom door is cracked just so and a thin blade of light beams comfortingly from the hallway as I slumber in my bed, but *Real* darkness. Like when the electricity goes out in the dead of night and I wake with a start to find that I can’t see my hand in front of my face. In those cases I revert to childhood again, and pull the covers over my face, pleading with God to bring the reassuring hum of power back quickly. I feel helpless. Incapacitated. Vulnerable. Scared. Confused.
In the last few months, those same feelings have been washing over me with regularity, in spite of the light surrounding me. If you had asked me, I’d have said I was great. How could I say otherwise? I have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit closer than ever in that span of time. I have learned so much about my Savior, His plan for me, and His never ending supply of grace and mercy. His hand plucked me up from the mirey clay and set my feet on solid ground and I cannot say with enough fervency just how wonderful His Love IS.
I began to question what I knew to be true. Had I not actually been delivered from the Pit? Had I wandered back in without realizing it? I prayed for deliverance again, and instead I felt the Holy Spirit nudge my murky thoughts into order. It felt like the Pit, and yet…when I am there I cannot hear God. All I can hear is satan whispering his lies into my ear like wormtongue as I sit as Theodan, helpless to free himself. This was different. I felt God near. I heard Him speak. Again, in His incomprehensible tenderness He took the time to tell me the Truth.
This is not the Pit. This is the Valley. Yes, it’s dark here. It’s really, really scary. There is movement in the underbrush and shadows that menace. But if I cling to Him, He will lead me out. I cannot go around. I cannot sit and cry. I just have to keep. moving. forward. It’s deliverance of a different kind: through, not from.
It’s a place well-travelled by the people of God. Many feet have felt their way along the winding paths. Many tears have dampened the earth beneath their soles. Not all travel the same route, but all come out the other side because they are gripping the One whose grip never falters. I am so profoundly grateful–and humbled–to know what David meant when he wrote psalm 23.
Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
Give me a heart like David, Lord, so I can keep singing Your praises no matter how dark it gets.