Two weeks ago I went to YoungLife’s Fall Weekend at Camp Kern. It was a blast. I had paint spat in my face, wrestled some kid’s sock off in a muddy field, ate some “food” and learned a lot about this really cool guy named God. Now this God guy has played a huge role in my life. In fact, God’s the one that I believe gave me life and plans the life I live, and in the midst of those fun, crazy moments I witnessed His peace.
Twenty minutes of silence, of solitude, of reflection, of prayer. I trekked back toward the boys’ cabin in the pitch-black woods to find a place to sit and think. I found a huge pine tree and sat down beneath it, facing out towards the black pond next to the cabin. The past few months I’d been struggling a lot with seeing God’s plan: why He did the things He did. The heartaches, the stress, the loss, the fear. Why this good God would just let me go through those things that obviously weren’t good. I mean, He is a good God, right? That’s what they’d been telling me all weekend; that’s what I’d known my entire life, but some things weren’t leading me to completely feel that way.
That’s when the thought came to my mind. A tweet I’d seen weeks before while casually scrolling through my timeline, “God doesn’t make the storms, but He uses them.” God doesn’t make the bad things happen. He isn’t some malicious, condemning sky-dweller. He’s a loving God, but when we don’t see that, bad things can happen. We’re blinded from His good intentions and we’re naturally led to temptation and sin. That’s when the storms begin brewing. God sees those storms coming and the craziest thing that I realized is that He uses those storms to mold us, or He stops them in their tracks. Now, we’ll probably never know about all of the storms God has called off in our lives, but what we experience are the storms that He knows we’re strong enough to get through. The storms that He can use to shape us into better people and better sons and daughters. It just really sucks sometimes.
Fortunately, there’s hope in all the sucky darkness and stormy skies we see on a seemingly daily basis. That hope is light. At my church, Crossroads, they spoke about, “Focusing on the promise of the light, not the presence of the darkness.” In other words, we can focus on the storms and the rainy days, the lightning striking our safe havens and tornadoes destroying our will; or we can focus on the light: the glimpses of hope in those earth-shaking times of despair and the ounce of love shown to us in the waves of anxiety and depression.
I sat there under the pine tree for twenty minutes in silence: thinking, praying, listening. I focused all of my attention on the only source of light around me. It was a small red-orange sphere of light directly ahead of me. It sat still all the way across the pond, sticking out from the dark treeline. I don’t remember anything about the darkness that engulfed me that pitch-black night, but I can vividly picture that one tiny sphere of light hundreds, maybe thousands of yards away from where I sat.
That’s how God works.
He says to focus on the light, no matter how small, and suddenly we’ll find that the darkness can’t prevail.