It happens like a slow fade, transitioning from the brightness of light into the darkness of night.
I feel so alone. I’m scared. Fear of the unknown lurks in every corner.
Confused…I’m unsure of what’s to come. I don’t know when, or even if, the light will ever return. I have faith that it will, but then again nothing in this life is guaranteed.
Everything is dark. I cannot see a thing. My mind is numb, overwhelmed by the pain, and unable to concentrate.
So I close my eyes, there is nothing else to do. In this deep, dark place, there is nothing I can do. I have lost my sense of control along with my sense of sight. I am vulnerable, powerless, and dependent. In this moment, in this place, I am reminded where my strength and help come from.
Eyes closed, lights out, I feel my head lift up and I point to You.
Have you ever felt this way before? Helpless, alone, lost, confused, blinded by the light or trapped in the dark?
I wasted years of my life believing I was in control. As a control freak, I was convinced I was driving the direction my life was headed in. Likewise, I bought into the world’s lie that I should only look out for #1 – me, myself and I were all I needed to achieve the hopes, goals, and dreams that occupied my heart and clouded my judgment.
I was lost but too stubborn to ask for directions or consult a map. I was alone but refused company. I feared intimacy and avoided any opportunity to let someone enter through the doorway to my heart because I knew the jagged key would unlock the jaded parts of my soul.
So I stayed in the darkness and hid from the light. I stuffed my emotions along with my spiritual gifts and untapped potential into the way back of that dark place. I was afraid to face the person I was but was more afraid by the possibility of the person I could become.
The imagery of being stuck in the dark has haunted me in recent weeks. What I described above is both a figurative depiction as well as a true description of what a dark place may feel like. While the latter account relates more to a person’s spiritual, mental and emotional darkness (which I personally have experienced on more than one occasion), the former portrays a more literal darkness pertaining to vision.
What has been plaguing me and throwing me in a dark place over the last few weeks (and truthfully, over the last decade +) is the reappearance of debilitating migraines. The migraines I battle knock me out for hours on end. They can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an entire day. I completely lose my sight and black out. I haven’t had a migraine in nearly a year, praise the Lord, but I have been hit with two in the last three days of writing this. They are both the worst thing and the scariest thing I have ever experienced. But when they do occur and when the darkness closes in, I find myself alone…with God.
I never know how long the migraines will last and more importantly, I never know if my vision will ever return. I feel helpless because there is nothing I can do to change my circumstance. I feel dependent because I know I cannot do much by myself. I get confused as to how or why this is happening. As mentioned above, there is no guarantee I will get my sight back. There is nothing owed to me that would offer a cure.
Chances are good you do not experience the literal darkness of permanent vision loss or a temporary migraine. I pray that is the case. But, whether you care to admit it or not, there is a likelihood that you do know what a dark place feels like. You can smell it, touch it, see it…whether in your mind or in the raw, real, physical place that exists somewhere in your life.
Maybe it is the death of someone close to you. Maybe it happened after a job loss or in the chaos of unpaid bills piling up on your counter. Perhaps it is an unexpected tragedy or an unplanned event. It could be devastating health results or an unfortunate diagnosis. It could be a broken relationship, chronic depression, or an addiction.
The dark places we encounter in this world come in the form of people, places, things, and emotions. It can be the things we have and those we lack. It can be as mundane as the daily flow of life that has struck a repetitive cord and is a playing a very dark tune.
The dark places are seasonal – they come and go and some may even come back again. We’ll find ourselves wandering in some dark places and stumbling haphazardly into others. We may even fall head first into some dark places because we’re too busy focusing on what is ahead of us rather than in front of us.
Regardless if we find the dark places on our own or if they find us, the important thing is how we will find our way back out and into the light.
Jesus is the Light. He is the way out. He is our help, our strength and our living hope. He will lift us out of every dark place and will lead us back to Him, but it begins with seeking Him first. We need to call out His name and believe He is there. Jesus is waiting to rescue us and save us from the darkness of this world…and the darkness of our selves.
So when all goes black in my life, literally or figuratively, I remind myself I am not alone. I point to God and ask His son to carry me through this in His Spirit’s strength and not through my own.
I have faith He will.
I know He will.
Because I can’t do this life alone.
“The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.” ~ John 1:5 (CEB)
“For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:6 (CSB)
“You used to be like people living in the dark, but now you are people of the light because you belong to the Lord. So act like people of the light and make your light shine. Be good and honest and truthful, as you try to please the Lord. Don’t take part in doing those worthless things that are done in the dark. Instead, show how wrong they are. It is disgusting even to talk about what is done in the dark. But the light will show what these things are really like.” ~ Ephesians 5:8-13 (CEV)