Some might say, it started like any normal day…
Wake up, brush teeth, use the restroom, slip downstairs, drink coffee, scan the phone to see what was missed while I was sleeping….
The lights when off after what sounded like one big, electrical surge.
And just like that, in a second, we had no power, no water, no WiFi…none of the resources we had taken for granted, just moments earlier.
At first, the silence was deafening….
But at first, the silence is always deafening…
Unknowingly, I had just purchased candles less than an hour earlier (which I never do). The laundry was all done (and who knows in a family of six, just how much that is a miracle?)
Our drinking water had been filled. And I had to thank Him that He knew exactly what we needed, even before we needed it.
I had even purchased just a few months earlier two hand-cranked, solar powered flash-lights, with radios.
It was as if God was preparing us specifically for what would lie ahead…As if He was the Shepherd leading us, even before we knew, where it is we were going.
Then, the evening comes and it darkens.
And I wonder why, in a society who covets light, if we have forgotten…far too many around the world still live in darkness?
There we sat. No microwave, no coffee, no internet to entertain our children, no resources, those we take for granted every day and rely on…
And why it is when it is darkened, you appreciate most the light?
Why is it so easy to fool ourselves in this life, thinking we are the source of light, or we can hold the keys to any kind of power…when without Him we’d be nothing?
My teenage daughter climbs out of our car and pulls the tree limbs off our road.
In typical thoughtful-daughter-form, it wasn’t enough for us to make it down the road…she wanted others to be able to pass behind us, to travel on the road, we’ve come from…
And I think about how much she knows…
Understanding, our journey isn’t just our own, but a path we mold, to make the way easier for another.
And it has became eerie in this stillness, like we are living in some apocalypse movie, but no one dares to speak of it.
We tried to drive to the store. Stop signs flashing, or stare black, back at us. The roads sit vacant, as if we’re living in a ghost-town.
It is then all that matters is, “Where are the ones we love?” And, “Is everyone important to us, safe?”
I get a report from a friend. Her son’s house had a tree smash smack dab into the middle it.
Our old house, the one we once lived in, had a fifty-year-old tree pulled right out at the roots by the wind…as if it was a twig.
That old tree took shrubs out with it and landed dead, straight out in the street for all to look at it.
Some tried getting places, but roads were blocked completely by fallen trees and branches.
Sit waiting and listening, reading, and praying, and talking with the ones we love.
The day pass. The time tip-toes forward despite our deficiencies. Lights dim, still taunting our insecurities.
Some talk of a hurricanes ripping through our region. Others wondered if fires and thousands losing electricity is some way God is judging us for recent decisions made, in Washington.
But, regardless of the origin…after you have spent some time out in the darkness, after you have known the stillness and recognized the true source for all power and authority and goodness…who of us cannot help but sit back and be humbled?
Scripture talks of a man who prided himself in doing all the right things.
He tithed on everything he made. He fasted regularly. But He also saw himself as capable, great, better than those around him. He happened to be a Pharisee. (Luke 18:11-12)
And then, there was the tax collector. (Luke 19:13) Unlike the first man, his heart was humble. He recognized God in His authority and had clear eyes to see his own ugliness apart from the Lord’s Sovereignty and grace.
Unlike the Pharisee, this tax collector struck his chest and prayed, not even looking up into heaven saying “Be favorable (gracious, merciful) upon me Lord, for I am a sinner.”
And Jesus concluded in his message about the contrast of these two men, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbled himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
We stumble reluctantly into church. I wonder if the roads would be closed, if the church itself would even have any electricity in it.
But His light effortlessly illuminates from worship, not because of any man’s great works, but because of His promise, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.
His mercy still shining down upon one havoced city.
And I stand there, sick of my own self-sufficiency, tired of so many thinking, “we are the source”, that any of us have contributed to the power that lives in us.
Have we forgotten, God, He is our only light?
I close my eyes to tune out the noise. Until worship pulls my eyes open and draws me to the two entering.
They stroll in. The beautiful.
The broken. The couple who so faithfully throws their arms up to heaven.
They clench hands regardless of who sees, expressing humbly, “we know we need Jesus”…
Then, a fine dressed one, falls upon his knees (and let me tell you, this is not a knee falling church).
I watch, remembering when revival hit and there was not one standing, not a dry eye, not one heart thinking of myself, or considering, “I am somehow just somehow fine without God”…
And oh how I long to remember that God clothes himself in light, that we are weak, and that He is the power source we have all been longing for, the one we have failed at recognize.
I wipe off my make-up smeared across my face.
We go home and walk with my family around our property.
We barbecue some dinner, sit and chat for hours, laughing and crying, spending time like we used to…before the internet came and invaded us.
And this darkness has taught me…I want to be like the tax collector, never thinking apart from Him, I can do anything on my own….
Darkness or light, He is the source of each breath and everything I own. He can create, and heal, and touch, and move, and change all of us by the power of just one word, Jesus.
And while thousands sit here without power in the Northwest, I cry out hoping we’ll remember…
Jesus always drawn near the lost, the ones standing in the darkness. He is our power, our light source…His love is all grace, and all consuming…
And our God is like a magnet to the broken…
Those that are humble and desperate. Those that know their need for Him.
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