Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Difference is Night and Day

The first two and a half decades of my life were riddled with fear, darkness, and death. As a child, the night was the time of evil, oppression, and turmoil. Bed time was terrifying, because I was left alone in the dark with the demons that flooded my waking and sleeping hours. Night after night I faced with terror and dread. I stretched out the evening. I did not want to stay up late for normal childhood reasons. I wanted to stay up late, because I knew that as soon as the lights went out, the phantoms of night would rise. It was not a normal “kid fear the dark.” It was a “I can’t move a muscle in my bed, sobbing silently into my pillow praying for God to make the demons leave” kind of fear. I ask myself if it was primarily mental illness or primarily spiritual warfare, and I know that it was both. I felt trapped in the darkness of oppression and death.

I faced this history on Tuesday night, and I poured out my past and heart before the Lord. Because writing is my vehicle of healing, I wrote and I wrote and I wrote for what seemed like forever, reliving memories of the night that I had never wanted to replay. I went to bed that night asking, “Lord, where were you? How could you allow your daughter such torment and anguish in the night hours of her entire childhood?” I asked the Lord, “Is your power enough to redeem this life and cast out shame?” At four in the morning, I fell into bed, exhausted and heart broken for the child of my memories, the child that was curled up in a ball in her bed, wanting to escape the terror of night, praying for morning to arrive sooner or praying for death to take her away from the world of night.

I awoke Wednesday morning determined to seek the Lord until He provided some sort of healing revelation. That was when I opened my Bible. My intention was not to play “bible roulette”, but God threw a verse in my face with my first flip. That verse was Isaiah 60:1, which states:

“Arise (from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life)! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”

At moments like this, I cannot doubt the existence of the Lord. How could He have picked a better verse or a better translation in which to reveal it? He is raising me to a new life from the depression and prostration in which I found myself through circumstances of childhood beyond my control. As I studied the word “arise” in the Hebrew language, I found that it refers specifically to daylight, coming forth at daybreak. How appropriate is that? God revealed that He is bringing daylight into my world of horrific night times. He is bringing the rising of the sun, the glorious sun, to illuminate my life. Even in the terrible memory of my history, He was irradiating and showing forth beams of light into the deepest, darkest corners of my most shameful childhood secrets.

This revelation would be fully sufficient except that God took it to the next level. He calls me to arise to a new life. I am the one who is to shine forth beams of light into the world. He is illuminating my life, and He is calling me to illuminate the darkest places of the world, cloaked with the enemy’s shadows of lingering lies. He is calling me to reflect His sun rise. As I bask in the glory of the rising Son in my life, I have the opportunity to reflect His rays onto a world of perpetual night and darkness.

I conclude, stating, “Rejoice not against me, oh mine enemy. When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” Micah 7:8.

In retrospect, I recall the nightlights that were always plugged into the wall in my room at night. I could never sleep without the presence of one of those muted bulbs, exposing the shadows to be what they truly were: merely absence of light, and taking the edge off of the darkness of an otherwise pitch black room. “The Lord shall be a light unto me.” Where was God during those dark nights of terror? He was there. He was the nightlight. He was my nightlight when I walked through the valley of the shadow of death. He is my rising sun as I step up to this new life. I walk in the light, and He has always been the light, even in the darkest night.

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