"Mommy, I can't find it?" Libby (my almost 5 year old) is scavenging around. She flipped on the light switch. "Oh there it is," she declares.
"Sometimes you have to turn on the light to find what you're looking for."
That was so true. Her words still linger with me. I need to to turn on the light to find what I'm looking for.
Sometimes when you're sitting in the dark as long as I've been you forget that there's any other option. You forget that there's light.
I'm learning to bring myself out of the darkness into light. Or a more accurate description is letting God's light into my darkness. Or should I say allowing His light...
My cousin a couple Christmases ago bought Libby a fantastic book called The Lightlings by R.C. Sproul and Justin Gerard.
A review from Amazon says this of the book:
We all know kids are sometimes afraid of the dark. But, did you know that some people are afraid of the light? In The Lightlings well-known theologian R. C. Sproul creates a wonderful allegory about the story of redemption. He combines the stories of Adam and Eve and the Nativity.
In Sproul's tale, the King of Light created people who loved the light and they shone brightly, as did the King. The King called his people the little lightlings. They shared in the King's company and light until they decided to disobey him and go their own way. When they did so, the light left them and they hid in the darkness. They became very afraid of the light, as they were afraid the King would find them and punish them. After much time in the darkness, a bright light appeared in the sky. Some of the younger lightlings wandered off, searching for the light. They found it, in the form of a small family, a mother, father and a newborn baby of light. The children, both fascinated and fearful of the light, stayed and worshipped the new baby. When they returned to their people, they took some of their new light with them. Those lightlings who listened and believed in the story told by the youngsters, were no longer afraid of the light.
The author quotes 1 John 1:15 at the beginning of the book: "God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all." He has also included a special section in the back of the book for parents, designed to help their children understand the story in the book and the message of salvation.
I guess what spoke to me is the reminder that we're not always afraid of the dark... but afraid of the light. Afraid of the illumination to see ourselves as we truly are.
The past several days I feel as thought I've been given a gift. I feel like the Holy Spirit is illuminating "old" truths to me. I'm seeing and understanding things I've known since I was a child in a new way.
For example, I'm figuring out what it means to be "in Christ". In things i've been listening to, reading, conversations I've had this has been a constant theme.
Being "In Christ" means that I no longer have to "try" to be perfect... I bear perfection... because it's Christ's. I bear righteousness, because it's Christ's. All the things that He IS, apply to ME because I am in Him. There's a mouthful.
I used to look at verses like Be Holy because I am Holy (1 Peter 1:16, Lev. 20:26) or another one "be perfect as I am perfect" (Matthew 5:48) and FREAK OUT. How do I be perfect or holy? Oh, I know. Try harder. Be more. Do everything "right." But I kept failing. And I would feel sick and broken hearted. This wasn't working! But I get it now... It's being Holy because He is holy... meaning because I'm in Him I can be Holy via His Holiness. What freedom! So it's not me all along- IT'S HIM! It's like a light when off inside my brain! I get it. What He's saying is YOU shall be HOLY because I AM HOLY!!!!!!!! not try to be Holy like me on your own... because then you will fail.
Another thing I've been discovering (once again) is that really... really... really... it is truly GRACE I am saved. My pastor, Eric Hughes, gave the best message I've heard in a LONG time this past Sunday. He was talking about an overview of Galations and was talking about destruction. Destruction can happen through making less of something... via blowing up, or exploding, decimating, etc. BUT destruction can happen through addition. He gave the example of a child putting his used bubble gum on a work of art estimated to be in the millions. He destroyed that work of art through addition. In the same way I destroy the masterpiece of the Gospel when I ADD to it.
I take the Masterpiece of the Gospel off the Wall and put it on the easel of my experience. I paint extra things on the Gospel. He was talking about the ways in which we do that. Oh can I implore you to listen to the message!
I saw clearly what I paint on to this Masterpiece. I paint my depression and shame onto this portrait and I think He can't reach me. My depression is too strong. I also paint my "good works" and efforts and strivings... I try and be good enough and live up and be "perfect" and "holy"... but God is gently showing me.... "Stop! Stop the painting." "Trust that my Gospel is enough! Trust that Christ's work is enough! Trust that His/My Blood can wash away your sin!"
Wait, so what about good works? What about the good fruit that comes from your life?
Are you saying I don't need to read my Bible? What about all the good things I've learned about modesty, or organization and scheduling, or praying or quiet times.... what about all that? Can I truly leave it up to God? Can I truly believe that He can save and rescue me? That I can allow His good works and perfection... His perfect life, death, and resurrection.. His swallowing up the grave and defeating the enemy, and destroying death to be enough? I don't have to add to it?
Can I trust His Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me daily instead of being bound to a to-do list and worship efficiency and productivity?
And what? Adding to it is actually destroying it? I, my friends, have been guilty of destroying the Gospel! I have added all the little "I should, I coulds, I need to do" to the Gospel.
Oh let This Faithful Painter strip my attempts at addition that have marred His Gospel. May I see it for what it is and be consumed by His goodness! That I don't do a DAMN thing... He did it. I believe it. And so it's mine.