And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
- Matthew 27:46
I remember a warm summer day outside our old library. We were sitting on the curb waiting for the bus since, at the time, we had no car. We had just gone into full-time missions work, trusting the lord for our livelihood more than the average. The kids chattered and looked through picture books. I listened and watched and waited. Then, it caught my eye. Something so ordinary but so profound I remember it clearly to this day. Across the street rested a century old building, two stories, red brick and dome. It housed our small town's art collection and in front grew a tall tree, almost as old as it's neighbor. It cast dark shadows across the corners of the structure. Shadows betrayed here and there by penetrating rays of sun. Like a whisper from heaven I saw: when light bursts in it overtakes dark. Darkness doesn't run; no, it is completely abolished. But even more-so, even the hint of light turns dark into shadow, the hope of something brighter laying beyond. Dark cannot extinguish light, but light can extinguish dark.
I know what you are thinking; I took elementary science.... and I sit in church hearing that same old message.... so had I. But something more profound was in that moment.
I recalled that moment this week as I sat in church listening to a message out of Matthew 27. As Christ words are immortalized, no longer claiming "Father", rather in a loud voice he cried out, "My God..... why have you forsaken me?" It is the message of at least 1/3 of the Psalms.... why have you forsaken me. God, WHERE ARE YOU? We feel as though we are in the dark, yet, truth is, we are merely in the shadows with hope of light.
Sitting there in the pue, Bible balanced on my knees, I saw life as colors swimming around me.... the brilliant rainbow moments and the dark, black and deep hues of gray. So often we look to God as the God of rainbows.... a picture of radiant colors. He is, after all, Light. But we forget..... the darkness is what gives life dimension. If you know anything of art, you know how black and the deep dark hues are used in shading and shadowing to give depth. We think the colors are all we want, however, without these darker hues to accent, only the spectrum of the rainbow would create something more 2-dimensional and less awe-inspiring than we might expect.
Isn't life the same? I recently explained to my husband, I would not want to live life without the dark moments. Every dark moment has given the light and color more brilliance. Only good: how would you appreciate it if you had no contrast?My mother dieing suddenly when I was 28 and pregnant with our 4th child. Date raped when I was 18. Abused in my first marriage and divorced. Walking away from God and living an emotional roller coaster for every year I drifted. Almost loosing 2 of my 4 children in womb. Suffering from clinical depression for almost 40 years..... I could go on. I am certain you have your dark moments too. But each of these dark moments have made the light so.much.more.brilliant.
Living without my mom, I learned to lean on God more and people less. Relationship issues prior to my husband now of 17 years taught me the value of his love and I appreciate his care for me even more. The emotional roller coaster in my time away from the Lord taught me the beauty of the light in his presence. Being released from clinical depression and the absolute darkness I would be sucked into humbles me in His light which I bathe in now.
Yesterday I shared a song on Facebook, it is one of many I simply love for it's message of hope and Life Light in the presence of the Lord. In that moment Christ hung on the cross crying out, the weight of EVERY sin for all of time had been laid on his beaten and torn body. God had to look away because where God is, sin can not be. The absence of His presence was overwhelming. It must have seemed like an abyss. But Sunday was coming.....
Life may have it's shadows.... and even it's blotched out places.... but light is moving in when we focus on Him. It isn't why which should plague us, rather, it is what. What are you showing me, Lord? What can I learn through this? What is Your purpose or plan with this? Even the darkest hours can be redeemed by trusting Him, His strength, His hope, His Light and through our Trust in Him we WILL overcome the darkness with the light from Within. We will get to give Him the Glory and others will be drawn to His light and Hope too.
As Jesus was beaten and hanging, he was mocked. And while his mockers meant only to demean him, I love the irony in their (meant to be taunting) statement in verse 43:
He trusts in God
I pray you let the Light inside You shine to overcome the darkness. Lean into the Lord. Praise him in the good times and Praise Him in the bad times. Pray to Him all the times and give him glory every chance you can.