What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn't put it out. (John 1:4-5 MSG)
Early in this season of life, when the shock and the shame came as a tidal wave, I lived in panic and fear. I wanted to take control of absolutely everything and everyone. I wanted to know exactly what others were writing about my situation. I wanted to control how others thought. I wanted to “protect” by making myself crazy trying to control. I was ugly in that self-centered pursuit.
Then God reminded me of verse five of John 1, “The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness, and the darkness couldn’t put it out.” God had come with truth and light into our lives. He was exposing the darkness, no longer letting it control. And when he came with his life-light, the darkness couldn’t put it out. The ugliness of sin seeks to hide away. The shame of exposure by its natural inclination wants to cover, run, lurk in the shadows rather than walk before the eyes of men.
Gently God reminded me of his earlier question, “Are you ready to give it all up to me? Are you ready to give me your marriage, your children, your ministry, your reputation, your income … everything? Are you ready to do that? Because if you are, then you need to walk in the light. You need to stop trying to control the situations and the relationships and the way people perceive you. You need to let me have it. You need to walk in the light.”
“Walking in the light” for me back in 2004 meant writing letters to 100 financial supporters, crafting the truth for 600 people on our newsletter list, communicating with members of six supporting churches, and then fielding phone calls from those who needed to know more or wanted to show their love and concern. “Walking in the light” meant letting others feel their own feelings, write their own way, be who they needed to be … trusting that God would be their guide. “Walking in the light” meant letting the “grapevine” be, trusting that God would use that to his end, and would stop those who intended harm. The exposing and sharing and telling the story and ministering to others seemed to go on and on and on. Each time, though, the darkness was pushed a little further away and God’s light illuminated more and more the beauty of love and grace.
The temptation in those days was to hide away, to cover up, and to pretend something about life that might not be true. But God gently called me again to walk in the light, to make choices to live honestly before others, to let him lift my head from the shame so that when others saw him at work in my life creating the new thing he desired, he would get the glory due him. If I could control it all and take care of it all, I would seek that glory. Surrender is my worship, my recognition that he is God, and I am not.
Life-Light who blazes out of the darkness.
Illuminate my life, blaze into the darkest places,
Send the darkness away.
Give me courage to trust you with everything.
Give me faith to believe you are who you said you are.
Give me love, upside-down, inside-out kingdom love
That chases darkness from the hearts of those you love.