The Deeper the Darkness, the Brighter the Light

It is in the darkest night that stars shine the brightest, but the light of those stars is diminished by the light pollution of the world. When I move away from the lights of this world and my own attempts to produce light, I am able to look up and see the stars as they are meant to be seen. The same is true for Christ’s light in me. In the darkness of the desert, I appreciate the brilliance of His love.

I resist darkness, and my nature is such that I love to be around others. Community is so very important, and nothing makes me appreciate company more than time in solitude. Just as silence helps me hear, solitude enhances community. The absence of light begs for light; the absence of connection cries out for connectedness. The opposite is true, as well. Bright lights make me want to shade my eyes, and crowds can leave me looking for a getaway.

The light of Christ’s resurrection attracts me as nothing else, and sharing His light brings me closer to God and allows sweet, honest communion with others. That level of connection helps me shed light on the darkness in my heart so I can love in God’s kingdom now. It’s easy to get confused when it comes to light, but Jesus gives His Holy Spirit to help with discernment. When I ask Him to guide me nearer to Christ’s light, He is delighted to be of assistance. He waits for me to ask and lets me grope and hope to find God without Him. When my knees and heart are bruised and broken, I turn to Him for help.

Christ lights the way and leaves me in the capable, loving hands of His Holy Spirit, but I have to be ready to give up my own search and put my matches away before He can get me out of the dark desert and into Christ’s beautiful light. It’s hard to give up the need for independence and even harder to face the fears that keep me in the dark, and no one knows that better than Jesus. It’s why He promises that He will never leave me. If I would just stop wandering off and learn to trust Him, things would be so much easier:)

Journey With Gigi: Path to the Praying Life:)

The praying path leads to peace. In the midst of a storm with no power, I begin the second leg of this beautiful journey. I wrote the draft for the first lesson using the candle from my Emmaus Walk in May 2010. It is appropriate to use the light from that candle because it was on that walk I first heard God’s call to pray.

My first reaction to His call was to wait and pray for the rest of the call. I’m ashamed to say that I dismissed His call as not enough. I wanted more. I needed more. I had to have something more to do. I already prayed and prayed a lot, so what kind of a call was it anyway? I must have misunderstood. How utterly ridiculous that sounded to me as I wrote it last night and as I type it now. I suppose that indicates I have learned a little since then.

Darkness is necessary in order to see the light. That was clear to me as I sat in the dark last night with pen and pad in hand writing by candlelight. I pray I always remember the importance of Christ’s light as I navigate the darkness of this world. When all is sunny and bright, I still must light a candle of prayer. In fact, it is never more important to light a candle of prayer than in the midst of the bright lights this world offers to imitate His beautiful light.

I huddled near my candle in the dark, stormy night. (I have to admit here that the comedian in me so wanted to start off with, “It was a dark and stormy night….”) I’m glad I resisted the temptation, and I know you are too:) The darkness, accompanied by harsh winds and driving rain, forced me to be still and listen. I didn’t venture back to the church for the evening meal, but I did get out my laptop and go to the podcasts and listen to “Resurrection Living” from May 2011. Pastor John and I talked about the upcoming message in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 on resurrection, and I remembered that he had done a powerful message from 1 Peter 3 on the subject. I’m so thankful my battery lasted until I finished the message because it was just what I needed.

Here it is: “Resurrection Living” Dr. John Alden Tagliarini

In my study of 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 this week, I was shocked that some Christians don’t believe the resurrection actually took place. I can’t imagine leaving that part out of the story of Christ, but it’s done. Amazing! When I don’t live a resurrection life, I act as though I don’t believe it either. So, I won’t be tossing any rocks:) Without resurrection, Christ stays in the grave. Without faith, my praying life does the same.

The praying life is a resurrection life that provides evidence to the world that Christ is who He says He is, and His love is for all. Christ’s precious love is indeed the most precious thing on earth and in heaven. I always wonder what the angels must make of us and the way we deal with that precious gift. I let too much get in the way when it comes to hearing God’s message for me, embracing the love and forgiveness Christ offers, and letting the Holy Spirit do God’s work through me.

Since I’ve moved to the mountaintop, I haven’t had television. I have a pair of rabbit ears that help me get the closest local station with a lot of static. I only turn it on if there is bad weather coming or some big news event, and it’s a struggle to piece together the broken signal. God reminded me last night that He sometimes feels the same way when listening to my prayers:)

The lessons on praying came in the midst of a terrible storm, so I had no trouble praying, focusing, or listening to God. I was also very still which helps immensely. I pray I will have the same attention when things are bright, sunny, and filled with the busyness of my doing. That is the first and most important lesson when it comes to living a resurrection life and keeping to the path that leads to the praying life.

I’m ready to put God’s to-do list away and pray in a way that brings the sweet peace of His Holy Spirit’s indwelling. Jesus didn’t leave me alone, and that brings peace in the darkest storm. Last night, as the kids huddled together, I thought of how power outages have the tendency to pull us together. That calms the soul and lifts the spirit. I don’t know where the lessons will lead, but I do know they are off to an amazing start! Amazing what God can do with a storm, a power outage, and a little prayer candle.