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May 22, 2010

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Don't get the previous phrase confused with a once-popular kids show by the same title. I'm not talking about ghost stories around a campfire on Nickelodeon. I'm talking about faith and the fear of trusting God in your darkest days.

All of us have experienced one of those dark periods at one time or another. It's a time when you feel helpless, like there is nothing you can possibly do to fix a situation and feel whole again. Maybe it's a death of a loved one, maybe you feel lonely, or maybe you have a goal that currently seems unattainable. Whatever the case, the feeling is the same. You can feel the darkness, the uncertainty and the fear. These are the times when Christians must rely on God and trust that his almighty power and loving plans for our lives will work for good, always help us find the light and deliver us from whatever dark patch we may be amidst. Being afraid to put your full faith in God in your times of despair and struggle, and being afraid to trust his will is what I call being afraid of the dark.

Literally, I am afraid of the dark. I cannot walk into a room without immediately turning on a light. I don't have a reason for this, I have never had any horrific experience in the dark that would subject me to having such a phobia, but I still cannot continue on in any place without at least some source of light. However, if I have someone walking with me, even another person in the room with me whom I know and trust, I automatically feel safer and can continue walking in the dark. Although it still may be a little frightening for me, I can manage and continue moving on until I am finally back at a lighted place.

My real fear of the dark is the perfect metaphor for the fear of putting your faith in God in hard times. Just as it is easy for me to maneuver and feel completely at ease in a lighted room, it's easy to have faith in God when life is good and your stressors are minimal. But when the room is dark, or your days are stormy, faith becomes much more of a challenge. You want to be able to rely on yourself; you don't want God to let you fall. But sometimes it is still unclear why you feel so afraid to let go of your life and give God the reins. Although the evil in the world may hurt you, God will never let you out of his sight and his grip. A loving parent, He wants your life to serve a purpose and turn out to be the best and most fruitful life for you possible. So just as I have no real reason to be afraid of the dark, you have no real reason to be afraid to give God the control of your life and have faith that he will guide you through and deliver you from your darkened days.

So take the leap of faith. With God at your side while walking through that dark alley, the path will become lighted, as though He is a candle- a source of comfort and peace. He will guide you, step by step until you can reach the light. Although he will not immediately show you the bigger picture, he will shepherd you until you reach it yourself. Putting your faith in God to free you from the storms may feel risky and scary, but He will act as a trustworthy friend in a darkened room- he will remain by your side, act as a source of comfort and safety, and guide your feet back to a sunny part of life.

Are you afraid of the dark?
God isn't. Put your faith in Him.

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