Darkness and the Light

darkness

It’s funny how sometimes, right out of the blue, so to speak, memories come back of things that have happened long ago in the past that make a connection with today. It’s 4 AM in the morning and I woke up with a memory of a night that I experienced many years ago.

When I was in my late teens I was hitchhiking by myself across northern Ontario, trying to get home to Manitoba, the province in Canada where I was born. This is a long trip, well over a thousand miles, through the northern wilderness, during the summer. Why is not really relevant, just the circumstances on one particular night is.

I had a map and it was late in the day when I came to a fork in the road. If I took a 19 mile side road I could trim off quite a few miles from the main road. Seemed like a good idea at the time. But traffic was light and darkness quickly fell and there I was, alone, on a road in northern Ontario. We’re talking about total darkness, almost blacker than black. It was so dark I could not even make out the road. I walked throughout the early night, no cars came by on the road and the silence was deafening. I think it was about one or two in the morning, I was tired and just slowly plodding along in the darkness when I heard a loud grunt. I couldn’t see anything, literally anywhere, either in front of me or behind me, so I just froze exactly where I was standing. This is black bear country. Black bears and total night darkness do not present a good contrast. So I am standing in the middle of a two lane road, in total darkness, in the middle of nowhere, totally frozen because although I could hear the bear, I could not see it. There were a couple of more grunts. Then I smelled it. It had to be close. Just so you know, bears in the wild do not smell good. It’s a smell you’ll never forget. To say I was scared would be an understatement, but I remained totally frozen. My thinking was, if I couldn’t see the bear, perhaps it could not see me. The smell of the bear dissipated and I didn’t hear any more grunts. I must have stood there for an hour, in total darkness, before I started to venture down this dark road again. I ended up walking the total 19 miles during the rest of the night and slowly, as dawn finally began to break into the day, I came to the spot where this “shortcut”, rejoined the main highway once again and there was a roadside gas station nearby where I enjoyed an early morning coffee.

I don’t think I have ever been as happy to see dawn rise as I was on that particular morning.

Why would my memory bring this back to my mind? Was God trying to show me something? I have no idea but there are similarities that did cross my mind.

Unknowns are like the darkness. We can’t see through it, there is no contrast in which to differentiate one thing from another. And all of us face darkness in one form or another, some deal with mental illness issues, some with memories of what we have experienced or endured or done in the past and others about what may happen in the future. And, in reality, there is the ultimate darkness of the unknown, the darkness of what lies beyond this life that we have been given, when we leave this life that we have known, behind.

As this memory came to my mind, it made me realise that I am indeed thankful for light. Light that does allow me to differentiate one thing from another. The known from the unknown.

And then this scripture verse also came to my mind, where the Apostle John records that Jesus said these words in John 8:12 NASBThen Jesus again spoke to them, saying, I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.

There are an awful lot of things that I do not always understand, things that aren’t always as clearly defined as I’d like them to be, but I have faith in my Shepherd, Jesus, the Son of God, who is my light, who leads me in and through the darkness of this life to the light of life that awaits us who believe in Him.

And there is no darkness ever in God’s presence, none (1 John 1:5).

I’m thinking that maybe God wanted to remind me of that and I thought that I would share it with all of you.  And I am indeed so very thankful.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

 

 

 

 

34 comments

  1. Oh Bruce, scary! You were so brave to even attempt that!
    Thank you for sharing this with us. I agree, the light of Jesus will show us the way (Way). 🙂

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  2. Well said Bruce. We love Him because He loved us first. There’s no doubt Jesus got between you and that bear.
    I’m from Manitoba as well, another thing we have in common.
    Jesus IS the lamp upon our feet, or between the darkness.
    Blessings

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  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I have a huge fear of bears. I have no clue why but even reading this my heart rate went up. I am in the middle of buying some property in the Pine Barrens in NJ and it’s home to Black Bears. I love it out there so much but I the thought of coming in contact with a bear gives me nightmares. It’s a fear I have no explanation for.

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  4. Good share Bruce. I have encountered many black bear in the wild (wilderness camping) but that would be very tough. I have also wondered about those dreams from memories that wake you suddenly. Those “Run to God as HIs child ” moments.because of the “Unknown”

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  5. Wow what a vivid story! Can’t believe you lived so dangerously when you were younger! My hair stood up reading this about the bear! But what a good analogy, very appropriate.

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  6. Hi Bruce, long time no ‘e’. Enjoyed your bear story and lesson.

    Since our last conversation God has granted me a consistent victory over all the areas of lust in my life – something that’s never happened before. That may seem like a sad commentary to those who don’t know how long I’ve battled sexual addiction, but for me it is a miracle of God. For anyone who knows about addiction, either as an addict or one who lives with one, that is only one of the bears hidden in the dark that need to be dealt with.

    God is working in my heart and changing it bit by bit, but it is a long process overcoming habits of deception and anger and being untrustworthy. I’ve changed 1000 times only to not, so while I am encouraged and trusting God in this, I share others’ skepticism of real change until there are many more miles down this road. Two keys are I am trusting in God each step and each day, and I am obeying God right away when he speaks to me. Those two are both tough because of me, not him. I want to take over with all my pride, unlike Paul who knew the value of his resume BC. And I still pause at times when he tells me something to do.

    I have never felt so free and peaceful and close to the Lord – it is wonderful. But I also know I can’t trust my feelings or my flesh. I see and declare my flesh my enemy and God’s enemy whenever it rears up. The daily disciplines of reading his word and prayer and obedience are slowly changing my want to’s within – I know that is true. No way I could be on a computer if that wasn’t the case. I praise him for what he is doing, and seek the prayers of others who will hold up my hands during this time of recovery and change of ownership.

    Thanks for asking about me – feel free to respond here or via email any time.

    Thanks, Rick

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    • Hi Rick, well that is great news and I am so happy for you! These are difficult times we are going through and I can’t help but feel that we basically are called to do one of two things, either draw closer to Jesus or not and there is no alternate choice. Time in prayer each and every day is absolutely essential and also time spent in His word. No brainers. When the darts come, and they will, what I do is just say “No” right out loud and I immediately go into prayer and ask God to grant me grace to keep my hand in His. Misunderstandings with our spouse or lack of seeing their needs can surface from time to time but even here, prayer and obedience to do what God leads us to do brings healing. It’s funny how I have always been one that likes to have each area under control but I’m really coming to understand that I simply do not have the understanding or the capabilities to do this and reliance on God’s leading just simply works better. I lift you and Sue up in prayer each day Rick, please keep me in your prayers as we all need to be lifted up by others. God’s grace, peace and blessings to you and yours. I’m here anytime if you need me. Take care Rick.

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      • Hi Bruce, thank you for your support and your words of wisdom. ‘No’ has become a more frequent word in my vocabulary and I sometimes say it out loud like you mentioned – so glad God has given us freedom so we have the choice to say no, and his power to say it.

        So much chaos in our world right now and we’re praying about what God wants us to do as each new day brings new restrictions and lies and incompetence from our leaders. In the meantime, they are destroying the economy and many businesses in the name of a questionable virus with questionable statistics and what seems to be an overblown reaction. In the end churches are being forced to close and even small groups may be disallowed in the name of safety against this little monster no one I know has ever seen in person.

        But my point is God knows what is going on and has allowed this bizarre situation, and we need to be praying about what he wants us to do. I don’t think he wants us to cancel Christian fellowship and worship just because of a virus that may exist that has touched 6 people in the state. Next we will close up shop every time someone sneezes or has the flu or cramps. Maybe the way we are doing “church” and the way we are walking out our “faith” are being examined and exposed by God and we need to listen up and get back on his track and away from the world’s. Surely Satan would want us not to change or meet together, but if we roll over and play dead he wins.

        So what do we do? God knows – we need to ask him and obey him. Might be some of the hardest steps we’ve taken lately if he sends us out somewhere and rips us from our comfort zones. We had a hard conversation about this tonight and I can tell you this is no picnic we’re looking at. So while we are preparing for what might happen, hopefully not hoarding so others are unable to prepare, we need to prepare our hearts for the spiritual battle that is upon us, and make sure our spiritual weapons are in place and we are following our Captain and not our own wisdom or feelings.

        Please pray that God will enable me to do all that I have just said and walk with him by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. Then whatever happens, I am at peace knowing God is in control and I am his.

        Thanks for writing and praying Bruce!

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      • Hi Rick, I will pray for you as you have asked. With regard to the coronavirus, I’m thinking that virus is pretty real, just because it hasn’t peaked in your state doesn’t mean that it won’t. This time next month you will probably be facing a whole different set of numbers. Use common sense and keep you and Sue protected with appropriate physical contact limitations and as you have stated, ensure that our spiritual defences are at the ready. Blessings to you and Sue and your family.

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      • Hi Bruce,

        As a soon-to-be-rising septuagenarian, I have learned one truth – I don’t know everything. In fact, I know much less than I think I do. You may be right, and we both may be right to some extent.

        Something is out there causing virus-like symptoms and a few people are dying, many of whom are in their 80’s in nursing homes and very sick anyway. It sounds a lot like the flu, but we know all kinds of variations of that float around in this world. Every year the flu is a different mix of sinister particles and organisms. They try to anticipate the mix and create quick vaccines to minimize the damage, but thousands still get sick and plenty of folks die. But they don’t shut down nations and destroy economies over the flu. I have heard nothing of the real numbers of the flu this year or recently, since they are focusing on this new guy that sprang out of nowhere, and who seems to stop and go at the whim of political expediency. I suspect that if we compared the damage he’s done in contrast to the flu this year, the flu might be way ahead in the Americas, with much less than 8 billion dollars being spent to handle the damage in the US.

        So, not knowing what is really going on or who is driving the bus or what their agenda is, I must err on the side of wisdom, as you implied, in case they are telling us at least some truth. But I must also obey God if he leads me out of my government-imposed cave to reach out to others who need Christ and are full of fear and are alone. The vast majority of stories I hear from the media are of those who are hunkering down in their homes with their video games and movies and books and hoarded food and toilet paper, trying to ride this out like a hurricane or some catastrophic weather event. Save me, protect me, feed me, stay away from everyone else – the whole world is now our enemy for the next so many days or weeks.

        [tangent] To be honest, I have not run into many of those folks around here in SC. Maybe they all got to the stores ahead of the rest of us and already have all the booty. The rest of them so far seem to be kind, well-mannered, thoughtful folks who are going through something together rather than as enemies. It seems every trip to the store to try to find toilet paper has found at least one more kind person who helped others – whether to reach for tissues at the back of the shelf, or to offer a shopping cart they had just cleaned, or just to smile and be friendly. Sometimes I had to smile first and speak, but they are good folks who just want to make it through this like us. But I digress. [/tangent]

        More than just ensuring our spiritual defenses are in place, perhaps God is opening new doors of opportunity to meet neighbors trapped like we are in this event, spend time with them, and share the hope that we have in Christ with them? Some of the best times I remember in life were when some disaster hit and everybody was in a similar boat and reached out to each other. If my neighbors need anything, I plan to share – even precious rolls of toilet paper we finally got this morning by hitting Walmart at their opening. And may my sharing be more than just being a nice guy to them, but offering real hope in Christ and love for all of God’s children, regardless of who they are or what they look like. As soon as this clears up we may never see them again, but maybe God will open doors of fellowship right next door if we only try.

        Bruce, I’m speaking all this to myself. I’ve seen you on here day after day sharing what God has given you to share like my wife Sue does, while I am working on my recovery from sexual addiction in my room with the Lord. Just saying that as we get bogged down in dealing with the details of quarantines and viruses, we need to remember God knew all this was going to happen and he has a plan for good through this if we ask him and step out in faith.

        Thanks again for your prayers and your wisdom!

        Thanks, Rick

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