My garage door broke recently. A few days ago I lifted the huge creaking door in order to walk the trash to the curb. Back in the garage I reached up to drag the door down, down, down.
And then- darkness. Complete and utter darkness.
The door to the house had slammed shut behind me. Between me and that door was a 25 foot pitch black obstacle course of bikes and pool toys and coolers and lawn care tools. (side note – we are not a ‘tidy garage’ family ). My eyes strained to adjust to the darkness and seek out any small liver of light.
Suddenly this garage blackout experience felt a whole lot like my life.
I remembered the moment nine years ago when my once sweet, funny, handsome husband lay on an emergency room gurney. I remember the doctor’s slow hesitant words, ‘We did everything we could, Mrs. Hiles’. I remember the darkness that seemed to swallow me. A darkness so encompassing that I felt like I could barely breathe. I remember looking for the light, some light, any light to bring hope to this impossible reality.
Walking back into my home from the hospital nine years ago, little glimmers of light began to flicker in the darkness. Military paperwork that magically got sorted out by the right person at the right time. The wag of our dog’s tail. Kisses from my girls. Phone calls and love and hugs at just the right time. Chicken enchiladas delivered on a particularly difficult day – Dave’s favorite dish. Opening my Bible to a verse that shouted peace and provision and hope for the future. Glimmers of hope that God was still there and a new normal was maybe somehow possible.
Back to the present, standing in my dark garage. I was reminded of the same journey I walked through darkness nine years ago. Now, as then, I needed to do two things:
Go toward the light. The only way to get of the dark garage was to walk toward the glimmer of light. There have to be things that continue to shine hope and peace into our days. Things that show us God’s faithfulness and remind us of His truth. Sometimes we just have to look for them. Seek Him through His word daily. Look for things that you can choose to be thankful for, even something as simple as an early morning cup of coffee or air conditioning that works! Our praise brings His presence.
• Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatsoever things are true and lovely and of good report , think on these things Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
• Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Bring us news in the morning, Lord of your faithfulness. Psalm 143:8 (NIV)
Remember what you know. Just as I had to carefully navigate a cluttered garage by trying to remember where things were located, we need to remember what we know. Even in the face of the impossible, God’s truth is still God’s truth. It all really comes back to that children’s prayer most of learned as a kid: ‘God is great, God is good’. Do we really believe that? I know, I know, sometimes it is so hard! Me, too. I strongly urge you to start keeping a journal, and if you have one, go back and read of His faithfulness.
• The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 (NIV)
• You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head from despair. Psalm 3:3 (NIV)
• GOD, you are bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight. My God—the high crag where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout.
I sing to GOD, the Praise-Lofty, and find myself safe and saved. Psalm 18:2-3 (Message)
God as our rescuing knight, guarding our castles? I love that imagery!
Wherever you are in your journey, whether stumbling through smothering darkness or hesitantly walking in glimmers of light, know that He is with you….and that your sister’s all over the world are shoulder to shoulder beside you as well. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s probably a good idea to get out there and clean out that garage!