Thursday, October 02, 2008

Turn Into the Darkness

In my early days with this unwanted friend called grief, I remember pain driving my thinking processes. I found myself considering things my heart couldn’t have borne in the days before my loss.

I readily identified with a man who suffered a much greater loss than I. His name is Jerry Sittser. Jerry is a professor at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. He was traveling with his mother, his wife, Lynda, and their four children. A drunk driver traveling in the wrong lane hit the car with such force that Lynda, Jerry's mother and his youngest child were instantly killed. In his struggle with grief, Jerry Sittser tells of a dream. In the dream he was facing west, watching the setting sun. He began to run toward the sun to stay within its warmth and glow. In his dream Jerry was running to stay up with the sun so darkness would not overtake him, but he knew he was losing. His sister Diane appeared to him and counseled him to turn into the darkness and run toward the east. By doing this he would soon see the sunrise.

For those who grieve, little things matter. Most things in life take a lesser seat on the bus when you've lost the love of your life. Running from darkness seems natural. Running into or toward darkness is counterintuitive. It requires courage but amazing trust. Facing the uncertainty you fear isn’t easy, but it does have one simple and profound reward. It takes you to a place that only a God who sees in the dark can navigate. He, being the Good Shepherd, leads us through the valley of the shadow of death. Turning into the darkness of grief holds a tantalizing promise. You will again witness the rising of the sun. When I run in the early morning hours, stars dot the Alabama sky above me. I love watching the greater light chase the lesser lights into the day. Jesus has helped me through the dark night of my soul. The most glorious part of my journey is to see Him rise over my darkness and brighten the world I live in.

Jerry Sittser writes: "I discovered in that moment that I had the power to choose the direction my life would head….I decided from that point on to walk into the darkness rather than try to outrun it, to let my experience of loss take me on a journey wherever it would lead, and to allow myself to be transformed by my suffering rather than to think I could somehow avoid it."

Whatever your darkness is, you can face it with the Lord Jesus Christ. He not only refuses to abandon you, He waits patiently to reveal Himself to you. I would not trade the revelation of my Lord in the past thirteen months of darkness for anything. Anything? That's right.
Turning into my darkness!
Ed Litton

7 comments:

Terri said...

I read that book too. It was awesome...one of my favorite about grief. You and your children are often in my thoughts and prayers. We've been walking through the valley of grief right along with you.

Terri Draper Wilkinson

Anonymous said...

Wow. I am speechless and humbled before God. Thank you

DD said...

This is really full of insight...

Anonymous said...

Miles and decades have passed and God continues to teach me through many things including you. Thank you for your continued willingness to be used by the one who sent you.

Jackie said...

O' how the Holy Spirit speaks to me through you everytime I read your blog (and hear your sermons). Our God, who has always existed is a Soverign God, Creator, Sustainer, Provider, Unchanging,Immutable,the beginning and the end,the King of Providence,God who will open every door before you and will part the red sea no matter how dark the night or big the challenge - God says, " I am GREATER"...What a Holy God we serve! Thank you for sharing your heart - you are helping to change lives!!

Martha Schmidt said...

WOW

Anonymous said...

Ed, your blog reminds me of the song, East to West, sung by Casting Crowns. Sometimes in our walk we allow His truths to be drowned out by the storm we are in but Jesus holds on to us. "Go East, young man!" (ok...it's not an exact quote)find rest in His arms of mercy and He'll turn the darkness to light! I'm praying for you. In Christ, Susan (Karch)Stanton MVBC, Tucson, Az 1993 sgstanton@live.com