There is incredible beauty in this world and yet, laced all through the blazing sunlight, delicate blooms, and joyful people, are many dark paths. Sometimes people choose a dark path. They seem to do everything in their power to find the struggle and the pain in life and to live that pain to the fullest. At camp we work with children and so much of the time with kids, someone else has chosen that dark path for them. Someone they love has stumbled or wandered or rushed down a hopeless path and dragged their family with them.
Where is God?
Where is God when the way is dark and all seems grim and full of shadows?
Sometimes a path takes a dark turn in a natural twist of life. People get sick, cars crash, and everybody dies eventually. I have walked such twists and turns. Scruffy is 44 this year, the same age my dad was when he died in a simple accident.
Where is God?
Where is God when life and death and love and loss get all mixed up around you?
I took the picture above on an incredible misty morning. I had just dropped our three boys off at the school bus and our 50+ pound puppy was snuffling around in the car looking for crumbs. Three healthy boys, a happy pup who was the answer to a year’s worth of prayers, a beautiful drive home. Yet, this photograph made me pause and remember. Dark paths twist through even such a lovely world as this and my feet will surely come upon one sooner or later and so will yours.
Where is God, then?
That is the question, isn’t it? The campers who drive under the archway of the Camas Meadows sign and toss their sleeping bags onto a bunk and rush down to chapel to sing “I’ll Fly Away” with all the motions and join in a Jell-O eating contest… Many of those same laughing kids are walking dark paths. What do you say? What do you do?
Where is God, when the path is dark?
I do not have wisdom and answers and perfect golden words. I do know this, when my path was dark, God walked beside me. He was still there, even then. A smile, an understanding glance, an arm draped around the shoulder of someone in pain. These things we can give, even though we do not have answers. These are the things that matter when your heart is broken and the way lies black and misty before you.
Hold on, for God walks in such places as well. I know this, because I have lived it before. Walk with Him when your path twists into darkness before you, and you will find Him faithful even in such a time. I am not the only one. Talk to Scruffy or Choco or Del or Autumn… Open up God’s word and see, the Bible is chock full of people on dark paths who found that God was there, even then, even in such a place.
Psalm 22:24–“For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”
Job 36:15–“But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.”
2 Samuel 22:5-7, 17-20–“The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears…He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”
Isaiah 50:10b–“Let him who walks in the dark, who has not light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”
Know this my friend. Whether God will reach down from on high and pull you out of that place of darkness, or simply place His foot beside yours and walk the path beside you, I do not know. But He is there, that much I can say for certain, and He is good, even when the path is laced with shadow.