Do you know how your eyes adjust to the darkness after you’ve been in the dark for a while? And then, when someone else comes from a brightly-lit room into the darkness, the person can only see the pitch black around him and maybe a few random shapes. But you can still see everything because your eyes have already adjusted.
So you guide him with your voice. You take him by the hand around the dresser, help him around the lamp, tell him to step over the shoe. You become his eyes for a moment... until he adjusts to the darkness too.
And to me, this is a beautiful picture of walking with God in a community through the hard seasons.
Because when you first get the diagnosis or the phone call or the realization of the broken relationship, you can’t make sense of anything. You panic and question and try to blindly trudge your way forward with each step, afraid and unsure.
But then you hear a voice who says, “I’ve been there, too. Walk toward me.” You are seemingly out of options, at the end of your rope. So you follow the voice. With time, your eyes adjust to your surroundings and you no longer feel so helpless. Your surroundings are pretty bad, yeah, but you can see parts of the bigger picture now. You can see glimpses of how this might even be good.
Then you notice someone else enter the darkness, lost and confused and broken, just as you were when you arrived in this place. So you speak encouragement and guidance because you know how badly you needed the person who guided you not that long ago. And so we imitate the Truth-teller; we say, “I know how hard this is for you. I know the fear you have. But I see you. And I am going to stay right here to help you take the next step and then the next, no matter how long it takes.”
This is what it looks like to live out Gospel-centered community. We allow the person ahead of us to show us the map. We give away grace. We stay when it would be easier to leave. We become a listener, an encourager, a safe place to land in a world full of chaos. We lean over to our beggar-neighbor and tell them where to find the bread. We were never meant to save anyone, but we can remind one another who does save.
So when the pain is so very real and the world feels entirely too dark, let’s keep reminding one another, “This isn’t all there is. The darkness won’t last forever. There is light coming, babe. There is light coming. And you won’t be alone, not even for a moment.”
Some hearts really know how to belly laugh
Even if it’s not a good punch line
Some hearts live in a confetti world
Where dreaming feels better and safe
Some hearts embrace those gloomy, rainy days
Even though they’d rather have sunshine
they’re learning how to wait
Some hearts have a lot of practice in breaking
or in walking away
They are learning that healing takes time
And God’s timing is never too late
In all of the hearts
In every imaginable place
I just hope you know
Your heart is not beating by mistake
And your messy, complicated, beautiful life?
It is not a waste
God loves you fiercely, my dear
So I’ll say this louder
For the people in the back:
You matter here.