Into the Darkness

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- Adam Lorenz

Growing up, I was afraid of the dark. 

I was afraid of what lay under my bed and what was in my closet once my parents put me to bed. Receiving great comfort in my nightlight – to the point where I would lay prostrate in front of in the middle of the night.

Years later, the world of horror and dark mystery films were introduced into my life.  These images, topped with my increasingly creative mind proved to help grow a deep fear of not only the literal dark but also the spiritual and imagined. 

It is because of these types of experiences that I have a fear of the darkness, of being stripped down, and alone – and in many ways fully exposed. 

In reaction to all of this, I’ve gravitated towards the Light. Like many, I see all the good that light brings – illumination and sight, warmth and joy. Overlooking that light can also burn us and hurt us, leaving deep lasting scars. 

So in light we see that it processes both the power to heal and hurt. Might we also consider this true of the darkness? 

We are part of an unfolding story but often we forget how this story begins – we remember all the movement done by the Creator quickly moving past this simple, profound statement held within the first lines – 

‘…the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.’ 

This wind, this was God’s spirit. And from this sweeping Spirit, we can deduce that the timeless, uncreated God dwelt in darkness prior. That God was and is comfortable in darkness. We see that just a few books later in our Canon when God comes to dwell or tabernacle amongst His people – instruction was given to build a tent and in the midst of this lay a very special place. This place also lay in darkness, sheltered from all outside light. This was where His ‘glory’, or again His Spirit, resided. 

We avoid the darkness. Which exposes a great irony when we think of the first movement or posture we make when we often pray: we close our eyes and put ourselves in the dark – to focus, to center ourselves. Yet when we think about darkness our emotions steer us to the depth of struggles, of hurts and fears, and of the dark depths of our soul.  

The exposing power of light is that it shows our true self to the world, to the community around us. The exposing power of darkness is that within the dark we can no longer point to anything, we only look within and see ourselves. And that reality truly scares us – because it exposes ourselves to us, the self we can no longer deflect or hide from. 

The Good News is that God dwells there. He is not afraid of any of it - of your darkness, of mine, of who we are and how we’ve messed up.  There is no place He is not willing to go, no place that is too far away from Him. 

The promise we have given is not that things will always be ok, but that we will never be alone. That even in the darkness there is nothing to be afraid of.

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Adam Lorenz is a rider, a thinker, and a lifer. His passion and belief in the power of young people has led him to work with high school and emerging adults for the past 8 years and is currently serving as the Youth Minister at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, MI. He is nearing the completion of his Master of Divinity at Western Theological Seminary and writes at www.adamlorenz.net. Follow his daily thoughts on Twitter at @adamlorenz.