In my circle of friends, family and colleagues, I am known as a storyteller. Have been all my life. So it isn’t often that someone offers to tell me a story. But that’s exactly what happened one day this week.
“It was a hot, muggy summer afternoon…you know, one of those days in Atlanta when the air is so thick you can barely breathe, but it’s much too pretty to stay indoors?” my friend began. “Just as the sun was setting, our son, his wife and our three-year-old granddaughter dropped by for a visit. Adriana had fallen asleep in her car seat, so we sat in lawn chairs in the back yard to catch any cooling breeze and to let the baby finish her nap on a quilt spread out on the ground.”
My friend went on to describe the scene. Fireflies winked off and on in the gathering darkness. Waking from her nap, the child sat up and pushed her tousled hair from her eyes, her little dress all rumpled and damp. Fascinated by the tiny lights blinking all around her, she stumbled to her feet. Still groggy, she reached for the fireflies with a chubby hand, tottering after them. Again and again, just as she was about to capture one, the insect would flit out of range.
Finally, in exasperation, she crawled into her daddy’s lap and nestled against his chest. She lay there in the silence, comforted by his presence but exhausted from her effort and sadly disappointed.
Without a word, her father plucked one of the fireflies from the air and handed it to her. He had been there all along, observing her futile attempts to catch the elusive little creatures and waiting for her to come to him. While she was resting in his arms, she simply received what she had been seeking.
When my friend finished, she ended with a little laugh. “I really don’t know why I told you that story.”
“I do!” I exclaimed. “In the blink of a firefly’s eye, you’ve captured the essence of the book I’m writing!”
Much like that little girl chasing fireflies in the night, you may have pursued your dreams only to have them “flit” just out of reach. Unfulfilled, they represent the disappointments and disillusionment of life. No matter what you try, nothing seems to work. The questions hammer you: “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?” “Why do I keep running from dead end to dead end? I feel as if I’m in a deep, dark hole where the light is just beyond my grasp and no matter how hard I try to climb out, I keep sliding back down.”
Your well-meaning friends remind you, “God has a plan for your life. Your dream is right around the corner. Hang on…you’re almost there!” You keep hoping they’re right. You’ve read some of these words in the Bible. But in your frustration, you want to shout, “How long is this block? Is the map upside down? Did I make a wrong turn somewhere?” Or, “I must have done something really wrong for God to withhold my dreams and desires from me….” If you take the blame for the delays, at least that could give some kind of understanding for a while. Maybe if I changed…if I became a better person…if I were more godly… things would be different. But at the end of the day, the real question becomes, Does God really care? Does He really love me? Do I matter to Him?
How many of us carry these burdens in the deep places of our hearts, desperately seeking solutions? What do you do when it’s so dark and God is silent? How do you deal with the pain and humiliation when other believers are moving forward and you feel left behind? In this tender place, you need real answers, not trite religious slogans. This need to understand the darkness is what drives some people to seek out man’s answers through study groups, conferences and therapy. Some even go so far as to attempt a total self-makeover. These efforts may lift one’s spirits temporarily, but the questions still remain, “How much longer do I have to wait? When will it be my turn?”
Within this blog, I will expose my failures, wrong thinking and false starts in the form of modern-day parables to assure you that you are not alone. Together we will discover God’s truth about us. I will share with you the major markers that brought me through the darkness, finding hidden treasures that God revealed to me on my journey. Your markers and your treasures are uniquely crafted for you, but my hope is that the Holy Spirit will use this blog to help light the path to your destiny.
This is my story. These are my struggles. This is how I found solace in the silence.
And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, Who calls you by your name (Isa. 43:3 Amp)