“Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said these things to you that in Me, you might have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32
“After this, many of His followers turned away and no longer walked with Him. And Jesus said to the twelve ‘Do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered Him ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life.” John 6:66
In the Holy City of Charleston, in a holy hour, evil had a field day last week. Evil came in like a wrecking ball, joining hands with a broken-down mind, fueled by hatred of what is different. Today, we who live numb to violence, numb to the gluttony of our freedoms and rights, still somehow think that some things should be too sacred to be ruined. Our minds cannot conceive of such an attack on innocence, and we have no idea how to recover safety in a world that is this far gone. It does not look or feel like Jesus has overcome, it feels like the light is shrinking back in the growing darkness.
I fumbled through answers to my little girl’s questions this evening about the color of peoples’ skin, and about what to do with the anger she felt at the “meanness.” Her last question woke me. She sat up in her bed, her eyes searching and pure. “Mama, what does God’s face look like right now?” I hadn’t had the energy to look up to His countenance since I’d read the headlines. I had been too mesmerized by the seeming power of darkness. She is too young to be numb; too trusting of Someone bigger to be in despair. And she pushed out the question, assuming I would be able to tell her. I smiled at the hope in it, and I told her I was not totally sure what His face looked like right now. I told her His face is beautiful and that He is strong, and I rushed through our favorite night hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and left her to fall asleep. My answer felt so hollow, like I barely had the belief to form the words. But I can rest knowing my mustard seed is enough joined with His never ending power.
Whatever darkness you are facing, whether it’s the cloud hanging over your home, the broken culture around us, or a daily battle inside you, your minuscule belief is enough. Singing (off-key) a hymn that you only sometimes believe is light that pierces the darkness. We will always fumble this side of heaven. We’ll know great joy, yet we’ll endure things that cause total confusion. We will not be able to discern the hand of our Maker with our dim minds; we just don’t get it. Yet where else can we go? The Spirit will pull us back to the One who holds the words of eternal life, and we’ll long for him again, even in the thickest darkness. “God, give us the energy of faith enough that we may bring to you the questions of our childish hearts. Give us the energy to look for Your face in this darkness. When evil scatters us, bring us back home to You. Help us return with our tiny belief. Help us see that You have endured the darkest hour, and that you have overcome.”
Meredith joined The Barnabas Center staff in January 2009, upon completing her Masters in Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and her Bachelors in Religion and Psychology from Furman University. She counsels, leads women’s groups and teaches a seminar called “Hope in the Darkness” for those walking with individuals suffering from depression or bipolar disorder. Meredith, her husband Jon, and daughter Charlotte live in Fort Mill, SC.
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