"When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me..." Micah 7:8
It was the last Sunday of April, and I was beyond excited for a “normal” (aka not freezing) 60* day to wear a spring dress and open-toe heels! Anthony and I loaded in the Jeep and drove to church, and I remember thinking about how beautiful it was outside. We parked behind the church in the early morning shade, and I was startled by the cold breeze that met me (slapped me in the face) as soon as I opened the door! It felt 15 degrees cooler than my weather app was reading. I hurried inside, shivering and rolling my eyes at another day of chilly spring air. A few minutes later, as I went out through the front of the church to talk with someone, I couldn’t believe how wonderful the morning felt under the warm rays of the sun. Standing in the sun made all of the difference.
I realize this is not deep, it is not life changing or mind blowing, but Jesus whispered a reminder to me that morning. He reminded me that the cool and even cold times in life are so much more bearable and manageable when standing in the sun. In the Son. We make the choice of where we stand, which direction we face. The sun was always there. It wasn’t even hiding behind a cloud! The only thinking blocking me from receiving the splendor it had to offer was my location. I could shiver miserably in the shade of the building, or I could position myself under the sun’s glowing rays. It took walking through a few doors and down a hall to get there, but the blanket of warmness that met me was worth each step.
"With the merciful You show Yourself merciful; with the blameless man You show Yourself blameless... for it is You who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness." Psalm 18: 25, 28
I hear so often about how people live however they want, rejecting or ignoring God when He doesn't fit into their own desires... until they fall into a dark season. Then, they suddenly remember to call out to Him. How in those times of need, they beg and plead with Him, making promises in hopes of tempting Him to provide and deliver.
What I hear less of are the ones who lean on God and follow His will in the seasons where they feel anointed, called, driven... the ones that face the sun UNTIL disaster strikes. Those who were serving God with seemingly all their might, but distanced themselves from Him in a season of shadows. I have seen people turn away because they were scared, hurt, confused, angry, bitter, and rebellious. I have also seen them give up and shiver in the shade because they were exhausted.
I have been guilty of this. It was not about defiance or even thinking I knew better than God, but instead it was from a state of weariness. I felt defeated with no energy to make the effort I felt it took to walk into God’s warm light.
There was a season of my life that was narrated by anxiety and fear. This season was filled with waking up every morning and going to sleep each night bowing down to Satan’s aspirations for my life without even realizing it. I was thriving by the world’s standards, but inwardly my heart was crying out for more. I have learned that there is a danger that comes with thriving by the world’s standards. The world claims you’re thriving when you are preoccupied with work, school, friends, relationships... anything and everything that keeps you distant from the house of God and distracted from the will of God. Jesus plainly tells us we cannot serve two masters.
If we consume our lives with these things, we will find ourself void of the Spirit of God, our power. This gives Satan direct access to fill our minds and spirits with anxiety, fear, and exhaustion. Trust me, I found myself there.
One of my favorite scriptures states, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace towards me was not in vain.” I realize there was a lot going on in this passage of scripture Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, and while doing my best to not take out of context, this verse resonates with power at my own life. There have been times when I needed grace, many times when I needed extra grace, and many many times when I needed heaps of grace several times in one day. The beauty of grace is it is given freely, new each morning, giving fresh sunlight after a night of darkness. His grace towards me has NEVER been in vain! Thank you Jesus for giving me the courage and boldness to eventually (because, yes, sometimes it takes a while) make the move of faith that positions me to openly receive Your grace!
I know that "If we walk in the Light as He himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) I also know that my determination to stay in the light may provide the visibility for another to take the same step forward. My resolve makes the invisible God visible on this earth.
If you find yourself standing in the shade today, spiritually cold or maybe just a few steps from where you would like to be, I challenge you to make the conscious decision to submit to His will and submerge yourself in His peace that passes understanding. Choose today to make the (completely worth it) decision to stand in His light, to stand in the Son.
“There’s no shadow You won’t light up, mountain You won’t climb up. There’s no wall You won’t kick down, lie you won’t tear down coming after me.”