Though small in stature, he was the most noticeable to me. Gray speckles dotted his white coat. Long white eye lashes rimmed eyes that stared deep into my soul. The other horses were beautiful, too, but there was something about this one that made an immediate heart connection with me. I met him when my husband took me to a magical place that offers horse therapy for cancer patients.
After having travelled through two and a half years of treatment, I am grateful to draw breath. I am grateful to have survived so many hard things. I am grateful to my God for being with me through the journey. But, despite the positives, my battle with cancer led to a dark place. I felt drained, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. A long stretch of lowered immunity caused by cancer drugs left me with a condition, that though not life threatening, was a daily torment. It had magnified the negatives.
Frustration, discouragement and darkness had enveloped me in such a way I couldn’t see truth, even though I knew all the right things to think and believe. Children of God aren’t exempt from depression, anxiety, discouragement and darkness. People who say you shouldn’t feel those things aren’t being real, or helpful.
When I again visited the white horse, I held his face in my hands and told him I hadn’t done a good job of being happy. As I poured out my struggles to him, he pressed his face against mine and stood there in the quiet gentleness of a horse hug. Peacefullness draped over me like the velvety touch of his cheek. When I left him, I felt calmer than I had in a long while, but I knew I needed deeper peace.
I’ve been searching the Word for words that bring peace. I’ve opened my Bible many times in the last few months, only to find myself distracted and discouraged. This morning, however, words came like a gift, wrapped in the smooth cool air of early fall – ancient words, brought to new life by the Spirit.
Psalm 139: 11-18 (The Jesus Bible) (bold italics, mine)
“If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. “How amazing are your thoughts concerning me, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you.”
As I contemplated those words throughout the day, it became clear that my dark places are light to my God, my heavenly Father, because He sees things with an eternal, universal, spiritual perspective that I simply do not have. He knows the details of my life, my every anxiety, sadness and torment. My thoughts, words, actions, heart and heartaches are known to Him, and most importantly, He thinks of me.
I can only understand that at the human parent level. I think of my girls often. I know their joys and anxieties, their fears, challenges and sorrows. Although I don’t know every detail of their thoughts and lives, I know them better than anyone else on the planet. I am privileged to teach, shape, nurture and guide them. I delight in blessing them, especially when I know they are struggling.
My spiritual parent, the same God who wove the cells of my body together, knows me better than anyone else on the planet. He teaches, shapes, nurtures and guides me through the valleys that come with life in a broken world. He delights in blessing me with a devoted husband, amazing kids, friends and even the sweetness of a horse hug.
God sees my anxieties, fears, challenges and dark places in terms of who HE is, not in terms of my circumstance. It’s a non-human perspective that has to involve trust on my part.
Darkness enveloped the land, and the sun stopped shining on what was the darkest, yet lightest, time in history. That event marked the death of the Son of God, who came to die for the lost and rebuild the way back to the Father. In the deepest, blackest darkness, God saw light in terms of who HE is, not in the terms of the circumstance.
Luke 23:44 – 45
“It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.”
The light of salvation resulted from that dark event. The torn curtain symbolized the removal of the sin barrier between us and God. The friends of Jesus who saw it and lived through it couldn’t see past the darkness until later.
Sometimes, tragedy, disease, and darkness are beyond our understanding, and light becomes impossible to see in the circumstance. There is One, however, who sees beyond and through the circumstance. Grip that truth with every available fiber of your being. Then, read Psalm 139. Read it carefully. Dwell inside it. It’s about your God. It’s about YOU.