I know you’re supposed to cast all your worries unto God, but sometimes there is so much to worry about that even the casting becomes exhausting and overwhelming. <enter 2019 stage left>.
It was our first day back to school after Christmas Break. I was walking in with a to-do list a mile long, we were short staffed, big decisions that I was putting off were past their deadlines, and a new year with a plethora of issues was flying at us. I have two UCA scholars that are living with me and they were slow to wake up, grumpy to get out of bed in the dark, and super emotional. The main road we take to the school was closed and we were forced to take a detour through some weird side roads. I was on the verge of tears as we said our morning prayers.
Just as we finished praying, we got to the top of a little hill and where we saw a house with red, pink and white hearts being projected onto it, swirling around like confetti falling from the sky. It was a tiny house on a street filled with blight and yet there it stood decorating the darkness with love. We ohhhed and awed over it for a minute and then one of the kids said, “It’s so cool that there are hearts that dance in the dark.”
I was rocked by those words. It set a fire in my heart for a new prayer...a prayer asking God for the strength and courage to be a heart that dances in the dark.
In our own human history, there are stories of darkness that make way for new beginnings. The Egyptians that held God’s people as slaves worshiped the sun. The last three plagues God sent held within them an aspect of darkness. The first and seventh nights of Passover remember how Pharaoh let God’s people go in the night and then how God parted the Red Sea in the night. I often worship the sun. I mean I cling to things that are light and known and warm. But what if in this polarizing of light and dark I’m missing something powerful? Maybe I’m praying for light when redemption and freedom come in the night.
Darkness is not the absence of source, in fact it is in and of itself source. The womb is dark, we dream in the dark, in the dark is where we sleep and our body heals itself and our brains store memories and grow, the dark is where there is the coolness and preservation of caves and the shade of trees, the dark is where seeds are buried in the dark soil to sprout. It’s the darkest matter in space that produces the most gravitational pull that holds the universe together...the darkness holds growth and rest and healing and it is bursting with potential.
Even as I type this I question it. Darkness is bad, I’ve been taught that since I was little. We have nightlights to keep the dark away, we proclaim that Jesus is the Light (which must mean that the devil is the dark), bad guys roam the streets at night (however, you might be shocked to know that statistically more crimes happen during the day than at night), we’re afraid of the dark...it’s when ghosts come out (however, again you might be surprised to know that most ghost sightings are reported during the day).
This season of UCA feels dark. There is so much unknown and so much work to do. It’s hard to sit in the questions and be a heart that dances in the dark. But we’re seeking to find source in the dark, to see that it is not a curse but a gift. To hold a season of dark with as much sacred joy as a season of light. We pray that it is here in this cave of darkness that new growth is sprouting under the surface, that healing and rest are doing their great work in us, that redemption will happen and usher in new freedom and new paths through the sea, and that in it we would know more fully the God who existed and dwelt in the darkness before He spoke this world into being.
We are learning that the day and it’s light offer the invitation to work with our hands, to do, to accomplish to build. And the night offers us the invitation to put down the work of our hands and engage in the work of the heart and thinking. When there is no light to see what we are building we are wise to sit in the darkness and learn, listen, reflect, dream. We long to see darkness as a gift, to put down the work and let the God who speaks creation out of the darkness do His great work.
We ask that you would pray alongside us, that the God of vision would be our sight, that He would give us dreams worthy of His name, that we would learn the rhythms and beauty found in all the seasons, that His name and renown would be the desires of our heart above all else, that we would be a community of people who are known as hearts that dance in the dark.