Walking in the Dark

“Walk with Me” is the overall theme of this blog. It’s nice when someone does. You know, it’s nice to not have to walk alone. But. Sometimes we do walk alone. Sometimes we must walk alone. At least it sure feels that way. Sometimes. But somehow, even when it feels like we are walking alone, may God give us the grace to believe we are not alone, and, that Jesus Himself, the Light of the world, is truly the only Light we will ever finally need.

Speaking of walking, one thing I like about walking while I am backpacking is its simplicity. Simple does not mean “easy” (!), but when you’re out walking in the woods, as the daylight descends and darkness creeps up, generally, you stop walking. You set up camp for the night and sleep. Yes, there are times you pull out your

headlamp and walk in the dark, but walking in the dark is never preferred. In the dark, roots seem to jump up out of the ground to trip up the unsuspecting uncareful hiker. It’s easier to get hurt, walking in the dark. It’s easier to miss the blazes on the trees and then to get lost. In this blog, I am thinking of my friends who are walking in the dark. Yes, most of you are followers of and believers in the Lord Jesus, and, even though you have walked with Him and are still walking with Him, for whatever reason, you are feeling lost. Depressed. Angry. Doubting. Alone. First, I want to offer you a deep and sincere Thank You. Thank you for trusting me enough to share your darkness with me. I get it. It is not fun or easy to walk in the dark and sometimes this difficulty of walking in the darkness becomes even more difficult by sharing it with folks like me. We want to help so much and are tempted to give “tips” on how to walk in the dark. You know, the equivalent of a “head lamp” for your mental/emotional/spiritual journey. Mostly, when I find myself walking in the darkness of depression or doubt, I find I despise or fear these head-lamp tips. For me at least, it’s because the tips don’t “work”. And, I know they won’t work (at least not right away!). They make me feel worse because I have convinced myself that if I were a better Christian, first, I wouldn’t even be walking in the dark, and/or, surely I can pull myself up by the advice of my well-meaning friends. So with this first word of thanks, I want to point out to you that you are not alone. No, you are not yet “fixed” and ever will be totally healed until we are with Jesus, but you are not alone. I am with you. Other friends are with you and we care that you are finding it hard to walk. Second, Jesus wants you to know, that He will always love you supremely, has loved you supremely, even if you are finding it hard to believe, hard to rejoice, hard to rest in His arms. He doesn’t love you more when you are finding it easier to walk. And, He doesn’t love you less when your walk is agonizing and you are finding it hard to trust Him. Oh sure, He loves to watch you enjoy your walk with Him, but that in no way means He loves you more. There is absolutely nothing you can do to make Him stop loving you (Rom. 8:31-32). I will keep reminding you of that truth until you begin to feel once again, its freedom.

Finally, I invite you to doubt with me. Please, doubt with me. I truly believe God would say that to all the doubters. All the depressed. No, He doesn’t want us to doubt or feel the crushing darkness of depression. Surely not! But, He would rather have us doubt in His presence, with Him, than pretend everything is okay. Perhaps Jesus would say to us, like He said to Thomas in His post-resurrection body: “Peace be with you!” “Put your finger here; see my ands. Reach out your hand and put it into my sided. Stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:26-27). In other words, Jesus didn’t just say, “stop doubting”. He first said, “Peace”. Then He said, “touch me” and “believe”. He doesn’t shame us. He loves us and blesses us. And, to remind you once again, He walks with us. Sometimes He is the only Light we’ll ever finally need (John 1:5).