Thursday, March 3, 2011

Afraid of the Dark

I'm afraid of the dark.

I think if most adults were completely honest, they, too, would admit they're afraid of the dark.

I can logically talk myself through it all I want.  I know that bad things happen in the day light too and the chances of someone being in my kitchen ready to attack me, lights on or off, is pretty slim.  I can go outside to the chicken coop at night and tell myself there is no scary monster out there, no one waiting to attack me, but even with my .38 snubby in my pocket (in case of wild dogs or coyotes bothering the chickens), I'm still scared.  There is just something about the dark that instinctually makes us nervous, sets us on edge and is just out right scary.

And honestly, I think that is the way it is meant to be.

It makes sense, then, that God would use the concepts of light and dark to describe good and evil so many times in the Bible.  We are meant to gravitate toward the light and away from the dark.  Sometimes, though, our natural inclination to go towards the light gets screwed up.  John 3:19-21 states, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God."

I can think back to times in my life where I was living in sin.  There was some sin that had a hold of me during those times and it was wreaking havoc on me.  During those times, I was in the dark, and though that's where I thought I wanted to be, I was terrified.  I felt alone and vulnerable.  I had to surround myself with a hardened heart to protect myself from either what was attacking me or what I was afraid would attack me.  And the hardened heart just made me feel more alone, which pushed me further and further into the dark.

Though I was terrified of the darkness I resided in, I rejected and hated the light as well.  I was afraid of what I would become when exposed to the light.  As long as I was in the dark, I could let the sin have a complete hold on me and no one would know any different.  I could even deny it was there myself.  I hated the light because I knew as soon as I stepped into it, I would be seen as the rotten, pathetic, screwed up human being that I was, and I thought it would be better to hide in the darkness and not have anyone know I lurked there than to be known and seen in the light as a completely dysfunctional human being.

In all those circumstances, nothing changed until the fear of the dark became greater than fear of the light and made an effort to humble myself and seek the light.  And what I found, surprised me.  While yes, my failings were exposed for the world to see, John 3:16-17, the verses just before the ones above about light, shows why the light of Christ is so precious to us.  They state, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."  I found out that though the light exposes my weaknesses, it also saves me from my weaknesses.  The light didn't exist just to expose me in an effort to leave me raw and naked, so much as it wanted to save me, from myself and from what lurked in the shadows.  

So I'm glad I'm afraid of the dark.  I'll still force myself to get up when I hear a bump in the night and go investigate the dark corners of my basement.  I'll still make starlit pulse racing expeditions through the dimly lit woods when the need arises.  But as I feel my fear, I'll remember that it is a healthy instinctual reminder that the light is where I want to be, where I'll feel comfort, where I'll feel loved and where I'm forgiven, just as I am, atrocities and all.

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