Many years ago, I worked as a Corporate Trainer for a retail company. I spent significant time traveling, teaching training classes for new managers who entered the company. One of my frequent stops was Toms River, New Jersey.
On a trip that I will never forget, I had several flight delays and didn’t arrive into Newark airport until very late. I had then a several hour drive from the airport to the hotel and it was going to be a night of little sleep. The alarm would be going off early so I could get ready and head to the training room to prepare everything for the class I would be teaching. And this class was going to be a little bit different, as the Vice-President of Human Resources was going to observe me. I was just a wee-bit nervous.
I arrived at 2 am at the Holiday Inn, a place I had stayed numerous times over the years. On this occasion, I don’t remember the stop at the front desk for check-in. All I remember is putting the key card into the door, opening the door, and flipping the light switch. But for some reason, the lights didn’t come on. I flipped the switch up and down several times and… no light. So I put my luggage down and entered the pitch-black room and felt along the wall to the find my way to the bathroom. Since I had stayed in this hotel in the past, I was fairly certain that I would be able to find my way in the dark.
As I moved into the darkness, I turned to what I thought was the bathroom and found a corner of a wall with my face. The darkness was replaced with the bright burst of pain as my glasses crumbled off and the sting of pain at my eyebrow. I got it good.
I sat there in the dark for several minutes feeling the warm flow of blood flow down my face. The longer I sat there, the more my eyes adjusted to the darkness. I could see the outline of the furniture and could make out the walls and then the entryway to the bathroom. I could see in the dark.
I finally decided to stand up and make my way to the bathroom and flip the switch. My eyes were blinded by the light. Once inside I glanced in the mirror and was horrified by the gash. This was going to need stitches.
I don’t remember much after that. I do remember waking up early, heading to an E.R. and getting stitches. By that time, my whole eye was swollen and I had bruising. I looked like I got into a fist fight. Not exactly the way that I envisioned making my presentation in front of an executive. I got to the training room early enough to set up. And I taught the class in embarrassment. Ugh. What a trip!
When things go dark, it gets ugly real quick. We can’t see, we trip over things, we fall to the ground in a heap. Physically, emotionally, spiritually – it is misery trying to walk in the dark. It is painful. You know what I mean?
Sometimes it is choices that we make that take us to places that we never imagined we would be. Giving in to one temptation turns into an unraveling of our soul. Before we know it we are addicted, involved in an affair, or going down a trail of lies. Sometimes it things that happen to us like cancer, someone abusing you, or being unfaithful. Either way, it is hell when things go dark.
The story I shared was true. But I could also share numerous stories of when I walked in the dark metaphorically – living in the darkness of depression or stuck in sin causing pain and destruction with every step.
People walk in the darkness all the time, with their eyes adjusting to the darkness, they can see a little bit. But the longer they do it, the more that it becomes normal. They are hurt and then they hurt people that are in the way.
Have you been there? Are you there now?
Check out what Jesus said,
“Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You’ll be children of light.” John 12:35b-36 (MSG)
Maybe you are at the edge of the darkness. You know if you take a few steps into the dark, things are going to go bad fast. Now is the time to get help, before you are in crisis. You have a lot to lose, don’t you? Your relationships, your future. Make a call – get help.
As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives.
But maybe you are reading this, and you are at the end of your rope. You have been blazing your own path, and it has taken your nowhere. It is normal, and it is empty. You know that there has to be another way. But you don’t want to turn on the light and see the mess of everything. It is just easier living in the dark.
But it isn’t, is it?
It doesn’t matter how far you have gone into the darkness, there is always a way out into the light.
He is always there. Right now, right where you are. Call out to Him. Don’t take another step in darkness, there is too much at stake, and there is so much life waiting for you.
If you need a friend, someone who has walked in the dark many times before, email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t have all the answers, but I will listen.
May you find the Light in the darkness. And may that Light find you, right now, right where you are. May your eyes be opened to something beautiful, something good right in front of you. And may that Light be within you and shine through you so that others may find their way. Grace and peace to you!