(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 3 of Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore we ask that if you feel like it, please share in the comments section what you got out of the reading as well. We're sure you'll lift someone's spirit!)
Refusing to Be Afraid of the Dark seemed to take a more in-depth look at darkness and how we can find the light of God in our darkest moments. This was good for me to read because, like most of us, I am not a big fan of darkness (physical or spiritual). This chapter forced me to examine this and helped to remind me that times of darkness in our lives can be times of learning, leading to increased faith and blessing.
In Chapter 3, Stormie explains the different kinds of darkness we can find ourselves in. Darkness can be spiritual, where we feel separated from God or the intense experience of negative emotions, like sadness or anger. The darkness we at times have to walk through can be a result of our own choices/mistakes or is an opportunity for God to teach us an important lesson or truth we would not have known otherwise. It can also prepare us for a season of great blessing. Stormie gives an example of what it’s like when the power goes out in our homes. If someone is holding a candle or flashlight, we automatically reach for their hand so that person can guide us. God wants us to reach for Him in the dark so that we draw close to His light and then He can lead us.
I recently had an opportunity to experience what complete and total physical darkness feels like. My family recently took a trip to the North Carolina Mountains and we visited some underground caverns. At one point, deep in the underground cave, our guide told everyone to turn off all cellular, digital or other light-emitting devices. She then turned off the light switch. With no light coming in from the outside, deep under ground and no artificial sources of light, everything went completely black. The lights were only out for a few seconds and during that time, I held my older son’s hand and knew my husband was only a few inches away, holding my younger son. Even so, I intensely disliked the feeling of complete darkness and could not wait for the lights to go back on!
When we are overcome with the darkness in our lives, our biggest obstacle is fear. It requires a lot of trust on our part to reach out for God’s hand during these times. We may begin to doubt our relationship with God, and trusting in Him is more crucial than ever during these times. Stormie gives some good suggestions of how to turn to God during darkness, “stop what we’re doing, look for His light and listen for His voice.” (p.34) If we realize that we are never alone and allow God to walk with us in the darkness, it becomes a much less frightening place.
I’m learning that the darkness can also be a time of grace. I love what Stormie says on page 35, “When everything around you gets darker, the light inside you will grow brighter.” Just think of the trials we face and how so many times it brings out the best in us. The incredible networks of moms helping moms, allowing all of us to come up higher time and time again is a great example of God’s grace being poured out in a time of darkness. God wants to bless us in and through the darkest times of our lives. Even though we can’t always see or feel God, His presence is always with us. I like to think about the end of the Footprints poem, where the Lord replies,
“My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
“I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who calls you by name, am the God of Israel.”
“You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.”
-2 Samuel 22:29
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”