"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
There's this darkness. It greets me every morning with a great resounding, "I can do this. I can do better today."
And there's this light.
It whispers. "Apart from me, you can do nothing."
The early morning light of the Son offers strength and I, instead, reach into the darkness and grab at the nothingness of self-confidence. And with arms outstretched into the dark empty space, I pull myself out of bed. And I gird myself with my own weakness and set about my day. I hold my head high and I unwittingly step out in shifting sands.
I manage to get to the kitchen. Granted, there's some thrashing about along the way. I place my hope in the blackness as I drink it down. One cup. Two. Will three give me the strength I need? Doubtful, I begin fixing breakfast. With eggs in hand, I falter. I pause, a bit confused by the near-fall, steady myself, and move forward. I serve breakfast, with a small helping of God, and move to the next task.
And there's this light, reaching down. And it whispers, "Take my hand." But it requires humility to reach out to it. And there's self-confidence leading forward in darkness.
Moving from kitchen to bedroom to bathroom to car, I falter, shake my head in confusion, and with a bit more trepidation, keep moving forward. Finally, we are all buckled safely into our car seats, and yet somehow I keep slipping. Big girl reaches out for a good-bye hug, and I falter. My weight nearly knocks us both down, and I, with mounting frustration, push her away to keep us both from falling. I throw my chin up and keep moving, leaving big girl to navigate the shifting sands all by herself.
And there's this light. And I shut my eyes tight. Doesn't it know it's blinding me? I put on my glasses and thank God for the darkness.
Back home now, baby girl wants me to hold her. I reach down to pick her up and I fall. Thanking God again that the couch is there to catch us. We both just lie there. Strength is in reach and yet I'm...what? Too lazy? Too tired? No, too proud to reach for it.
There are more faltering steps and a couple of falls, but we make it through the morning. And morning becomes afternoon. And big girl is back home. She wants me to play. Baby girl wants me to hold her, yet again. They stand by my legs, waiting. My head hurts. Supper needs to be made. Toys are scattered around our feet. I step forward, not really sure which need I'm answering.
And I'm surprised when I find myself in a crumpled heap, bearing down heavily on these sweet babes of mine. We're all dirty and tear-stained and powerless to get back up. And the tears flow until they nearly drown me. And I simply cannot understand how a reborn child can be so weak and unsteady. I cry. And I cry out.
And there's this light. And it reaches down from on high and takes hold of me and draws me out of deep waters.
And I'm powerless to do anything but let it lift me. And the weight of my broken body is lifted off my little ones. And they are lifted up too. And I notice these hands that are holding me bear scars. And I know the One to whom the hands belong is speaking; I can hear a Voice, but I can't understand it. There's confusion. And peace. And I see a precipice below. I try to stop the noise so I can hear the voice. I try to hang onto the hands so I don't fall off the precipice, but I can't seem to keep my grip and that gaping chasm has me fixated. It's so dark down there. Is that where I came from?
I don't know why or how I finally manage to pull my eyes away from it, but I turn. I lift up my eyes to the Place from where my help comes. And I see Light. It's blinding, but I don't turn away. I squint my eyes, lean my head forward just a bit, and peer into it. And I get just a glimpse of...what is it? Love? It lures me. Yet I hesitate. Is all that Love for me? My heart hurts. No, this is too much. It is too bright. And I'm all dirty. Is the darkness of that chasm stuck to me? It sure feels like it.
Can I come in...there?
But surely You don't want me...
But suddenly I notice these shackles. Is that what has hindered me? All those faltering steps. All those falls. Did I have these chains all that time and not even notice? Now, in this bright light, they are so obvious. And so heavy. How am I supposed to move closer to the light with these?
And the One with the scarred hands begins to speak. And the shackles fall off. Just a Word and they fall off! Who is this One that speaks?
Now free to move forward, my legs begin to shake. Afraid of falling again, I remain where I am. Until the scarred hands reach out. This time I grasp them. They draw me forward. I am certain I am floating. I haven't felt this light, this strong, in...years.
And, slowly something begins to come into focus. I can't explain it exactly, but I sense it. This must be Love. Yes. This is certainly Love. Is this what I've been missing? I am overwhelmed. My eyes can't take in enough to satisfy all my longings because I fall prostrate. And I feel those same strong hands lifting my head. And I catch another glimpse before falling down to worship.
And this is the cycle I find myself in: strong hands lift my head; I get a glimpse of glorious Love; I fall down in worship. I could live like this.
And I wake up. And suddenly I realize I am faced with the same decision I faced yesterday morning. There's light and there's darkness. I lie there, pausing. And there's a Voice. Yes, I've heard that Voice before! I close my eyes to listen. There's a veil of darkness, and yet, my mind is flooded with visions of Light, with the Words of the One with the scarred hands. "Apart from me you can do nothing, but through me, you can do all things." I remember falling, crushing my girls, the chasm, the shackles. I remember shaking in the presence of that great Light. And I remember those hands. The strength they offered and the Love they showed me. And I reach out for them...
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
You are a shield around me O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
She girds herself with strength...
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" and let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrated even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
God is love.
1 John 4:8