I think the dark times in our lives, be they sin or suffering, sometimes can descend upon us like a proverbial ton of bricks, especially when it’s an event that’s initially out of our control. Like hail the size of golf balls in a hail storm, sin or suffering can pound us vigorously, relentlessly, shockingly painfully, all at once. In these instances, I simply cringe and curl up inside in a fetal position, mentally and emotionally holding on tight until the stinging beating stops and I can squint one eye open to survey the damage and assess what needs to be done to clean up the shattered mess.
At other times, however, I think darkness seeps stealthily into our lives. The common euphemism is that “darkness fell across the land,” or “night fell.” But out here in the country where we live, night and darkness don’t “fall” from up high. In fact, the sky above, dotted with faint stars, is the last thing to grow dark.
Instead, darkness seems to ooze up slowly from the lowlands, methodically and almost imperceptibly creeping up from the lake and the valley bottom, filling the hollows and underbrush from beneath, until every heretofore light and breezy pocket of space between the trees and hillocks is permeated and obscured with an increasingly thick, deep, inky, seemingly solid, blackness. Where once there was light, quite suddenly there is rising darkness, like a black pool discreetly filling from below.
Sin and suffering in our lives can be like that, too.
Where once we were smiling and saying, “Life is good!” we find ourselves suddenly sad and enduring something we didn’t plan, something that only happens to other people. Perhaps it’s suffering, which is out of our hands, something as monumental as the death of a parent or child. Perhaps it’s sin, something seemingly insignificant that we did or didn’t do, that in fact was quite hurtful to a spouse or a friend.
That’s the worst kind – suffering brought on by sin. Something we did or neglected to do, that was our own dumb fault, and we screwed it up anyway. Maybe we didn’t even see or understand it at first, but it matasticized and grew, until it injurious effects were unmistakeable. It got out of hand and suddenly became a source of discord in our lives, and in the lives of those around us.
“How did this happen?” we wonder, shaking our heads. Sometimes we can feel like nobody understands.
Nobody else possibly can understand or empathize with our exact situation. But someone does understand. And He’s on the cross. And He’s the only person who ever lived who truly can say, “Nobody understands Me.”
Go to Him. Go to the cross and take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. Leave it there. Leave it! I mean it.
That’s the toughest part. To just leave it. An old Chinese proverb states that ruling a small country is like frying a small fish – you spoil it with too much poking. Taking our burdens to Jesus is like that, too. Stop trying to solve it all yourself and analyze it to death. Totally, completely, and freely turn your burden over to the Lord, and He will help you resolve the wrong that’s been done.
Trust me. He will.
While you’re at it, pick up a little book I highly recommend called, Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hunard (if you scroll down a bit, there's a link directly to it on the right in my sidebar). It’s an allegory about the main character, named Much Afraid, and her journey to the High Places of the Lord, all the while suffering temptation and struggling toward trust and obedience. Get it. It’s worth it!