Even the Darkness is Light to Him
This morning I played a song for the first time in maybe fifteen years. "Even the Darkness is Light to Him" is on the Michael Card album that I used to use when my big teenagers were babies, and it's probably my favorite song on the record.
It was interesting listening to the lyrics after everything that has happened to us as a family. I felt a twinge of pain when I got to, "Would not Jesus safely keep, little ones He loves asleep?"
"Is that how this works?" I thought. "Does that mean everybody who isn't kept safe isn't loved?"
I thought about what I am reading in Shusaku Endo's _Silence_, the horrific torment of thousands of Japanese Christians, and the news stories of mass persecution and murder of Christians happening right now around the world. I thought about the trajectory of our nation, and what is likely in the future for Christian families here.
I traced back through the stories of friends I know who were grossly abused as children. I hurt for friends who are fighting through serious illnesses in their beautiful sons and daughters, and I grieved for parents whose children no longer live in bodily form in this world.
I considered grown children of believing parents who are wandering or defiant, and I held the heartbreak, the regret, the disorientation that this creates.
I thought of the little girl in our area who was kidnapped a few weeks ago, about how thousands of us have been looking for her, praying for her, and how she remains in danger.
It almost makes me angry, in light of all that, to hear this question, "Would not Jesus safely keep, little ones He loves asleep?"
And yet the same Bible that tells us about Christ's love also tells us that we will be led like sheep to slaughter. It promises hardship, while telling us His yoke is light. It tells us that nothing can tear us from His hand, while saying that we must pick up our cross if we will follow Him. It urges us to rejoice in all things, then describes a world in which joy will be counterintuitive.
I'm currently listening to the audiobook for _All the Light We Cannot See_, and I am horrified by the vulnerability of a blind girl and an orphaned boy in the midst of a massive world war. I think part of the reason this book is so popular right now is that we all feel like this a little bit, unable to penetrate the forms of this present chaos, unprotected against overwhelming odds.
"Safety" is an interesting concept, isn't it? Jesus could sleep while the storm raged, even if that boat was sailing Him a few hours closer to His torture and death. He slept as if He were already safe -- then He woke to make the wind and the waves be still, almost as an afterthought. Taming nature was a far more difficult task than avoiding crucifixion. What does this tell us?
Was the ability to make the storm stop what made Him safe enough to sleep, or is there a deeper principle at work here? Did He understand that "safety" transcends the protection of a physical body? Is there a rest that comes with resignation to the sovereignty of a larger plan?
"Do not fear the one who can kill the body," the Bible says. Fear something else... but what is it? Why is that to be feared instead? What does that fear look like?
As I've been reading Bonhoeffer's _Life Together,_ I've been impressed that this disciple of Christ was known by his joy and gratitude, even in the concentration camp. When he was called to execution he was optimistic, telling a fellow captive that life was just beginning for him.
"Even the darkeness is light to Him, night is as bright as the day." As I hold all of these grave realities in the balance, I begin to see safety from a different angle. It is perhaps not divine intervention in all physical dangers, but grace that is large enough to carry us through the pain of our passing through this era of our lives. Perhaps the safety is in a love that, lo, will be with us always. Even unto the ends of the earth.