O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! -- Psalm 34:8
It may still be dark, but I am able to see.
Even in my darkest moments of being abused, or my black times of determined depravity, or when frittering here and there in the shadows of sexual brokenness, or slinking along in the gray dealing of dishonesty, there were clearings, those points where I felt clearly the presence of God. Sometimes I would behave like a possum caught in a sudden light and curl up in defense, playing dead and waiting for the moment to move beyond me. Other times I would flee, fur-flying like a fox caught in the barn of iniquity by a bright and frightening light and run into the darkness to hide and plan another deceitful descent. Other times I would throw my hands in the air in a "you caught me" moment of surrender. Mostly I would sit still and silent to consider carefully the consequences of letting my tears flow and my heart open as opposed to the consequences of fighting back the tears, burying the heart deeper and moving forward on my own with steely determination. Oh, the choices we make when the light shines in dark places.
It seems strange to me that so many of the worst things in life happen within the most beautiful circumstances. My final abusive moment in the hands of a sexually-deviant Scout master came when I was around 8. He knew a place a little outside of town that was like heaven for little boys. A short distance from the railroad tracks, next to a flowing stream which fed a bright blue and clear pond surrounded by polished stones on which turtles sunned. It was just a short hike, punctuated by stopping to collect a few loose railroad spikes, skip some rocks on the pond and then settle down in the sun. I have never forgotten the beauty of the place and have often wanted to find it again, but I have a feeling now a housing addition sits there, homes built around the peaceful pond that was once my clearing. I was not even a Christian at that age, yet I clearly remember standing on the banks and seeing my reflection there and believing I was not alone. The water was bright and beautiful and I did not play possum, but instead took strength from that believing.
Ilook for the approval of men when I sin . . . and I seek the approval of men when I stop. Yet, only God really knows my heart and only God knows what it will take to refresh it. So, it is when I set men aside in good times and bad and put God first that I gain from my time in the clearing and it becomes more than a passing place of pause and reflection.
When we recognize we are sinful and tend to take the wrong path.
When we admit we know all this and resign ourselves to helplessness, that we have been lost and stumbling, ignoring our guide.
When we trust in God's willingness to forgive and again shine the light for our feet to follow.
When we actually accept that forgiveness and take His hand to lead us out of the darkness.
When we stand in the clearing, look around us at the underbrush and tangled clutter from which we have been rescued.
When we stop and look up, surrounded by threatening but held-back darkness and observe the brightness of the night sky and the sweet comfort of the approaching dawn.
We stumble along way too long.
If God can restore me, once deemed unworthy among unworthies -- and He has -- I can certainly trust Him to restore all worthy things.
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