When You're Still in the Dark
I want it to warm up now. I’ve had enough of the freezing rain, the unexpected hail storms and the nights that still get darker more quickly than I’d like. We don’t have that biting winter cold anymore, but the gentle spring sunshine has not settled over us either. It seems the darkness still has some work to do.
Under the ground, newly buried seeds burst their skins, send out tendrils of hope, burrow deep into the soil, establish sturdy roots; their growth triggered by the dark and the slight raise in temperature.
There are so many ways of being in the dark. For all our western, 21st century discoveries, we still live our lives surrounded by the uncertain and the unknown. There are so many things that are unsure or unresolved. We only see in part, as the Apostle Paul writes. We see dimly, squinting through the gloom, catching a glimpse of something we recognise. But then the shadows shift, and the shape is gone.
What will happen next?
Can I handle this?
Will I get better?
Who will stick around?
Will this ever get resolved?
I am learning that the dark is a place to hold space for mystery. There are no easy answers to my unknowns or to yours. Why is a question God doesn’t seem to answer very often.
The work of the darkness, then, is to go back to our roots. We dig in deep again, reminding ourselves that we are rooted and grounded in the love of God. We remember that his love is unconditional, not based on performance or perfection. It doesn’t depend on who else accepts us or values us. We are beloved children of God, called to hold goodness in one hand and mystery in the other, called to trust his love, even when we can’t see our hand in front of our face. It is not always easy. It is the seed buried in the ground that has to die before new life can emerge. It is the work of surrender.
I always find it incredible that oak trees grow from acorns.
One tiny seed contains all it needs to flourish and grow, to become rooted and established, to become a strong, tenacious tree that cannot be moved or shaken.