I’m sitting in a dark house with a blanket wrapped around me. Candles are burning. My family is outside surveying the storm damage. Just like that, a spring gale was upon us after a completely gorgeous, sunny day. The forecast predicted storms, but what happened wasn’t a storm – it was a squall, a deluge, a tempest. And now we will be in the dark for a while.
It’s not the only unexpected setting we’ve had in the last few weeks.
I feel like I’ve been in the dark in other ways too. You’re right there with me, I know. The charts and models and predictions are confusing. It seemed like the lights went out all of sudden in this nation. We’d heard the reports that there was a bad virus out there; it was coming this way. We knew it had started making some people sick in our county. Then, suddenly, the winds of change blew out the lights on everything. People dashed to their local stores and bought out all the available toilet paper (it would have stretched to China probably!) Governors started forming response teams and laying out dramatic statewide regulations. Hospitals gathered their forces and put emergency plans at the ready. And boom, boom – everyone was home. And we still are.
It’s pretty dark right now. Do you feel it?
People are scared. We can’t see very far in front of us. We don’t know when this will end. We don’t even have good numbers to help us see whether things are looking up, looking down or staying the same. There isn’t much light or hope. But there is a lot of gloom. I see it on the faces of people in the grocery store, in the averted eyes of the masked people driving by me while I walk on the trail beside my house.
Many of us have parents or grandparents who are in the more vulnerable category of the population. We don’t want this sadistic virus to claim them as victims. But we don’t know how to fight it off except stay away from them and hope that the people in the news will give us some kind of guidance about when life can begin to resume normalcy.
The darkness is worse when you’re alone, when you’re separated from those dear to you. I hear the melancholy resignation in the words of grandparents, in older saints who long for the comfort of church family. They’re trying to abide by the wishes of their children; they’re trying to be very careful. But the drab days of existing alone are difficult.
The first chapter of the Bible tells us that where God is not working, there is darkness. The earth was “without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” (Genesis 1:2) But when the Creator spoke, the darkness left. Where God is, there is not darkness, for He is absolute Light.
God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5b
I wish the national and global darkness of this pandemic would end. We’d love to see a speck of light in the future and know we’re getting closer. We’re hearing mixed messages, and we can’t count on human wisdom. But we can count on our Heavenly Father.
Remember the storm on the Sea of Galilee? It was sudden too. But Jesus was there all the time, in the darkness, with them in the boat. Psalm 139:12b says “the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” What matters is His presence, even in the dark.
I dislike the feeling of powerlessness that accompanies these days of quarantine. I dislike that I can’t see the way out. But I have no choice but to abandon my pride and surrender to my human inabilities, much like the disciples that night in the boat. And, like them, I can call on Him to speak to the storm in me. That’s the only one for which I am responsible. The rest of the world must make their own choices.
I may be sitting in the dark, but I am sitting in the presence of Light.