darkness has not overcome

one of the devotions in ann voskamp's book the way of abundance tells the story of a 61 year old man who ran an ultramarathon and beat the world record by two days because he did not stop to sleep. he didn't know that runners were to run 18 hours straight and then sleep for six until they finished all 544 miles of the race. he did not formally train. but he did have experience rounding up his sheep by running, sometimes for three days straight. voskamp writes "sometimes the best training for the really big things is just the everyday things" (62). for reflection voskamp asks, "what would your life look like if you daily ran your race knowing that Abundant Light will never let the darkness overcome you?" (64). what would it look like indeed.


this question hit me. the man approaching the race in a different way than he was supposed to -- running through the darkness instead of stopping to rest. i journaled about this and wrote the question down: what would my life look like if i daily ran my race knowing that abundant light [god] will never let the darkness overcome me?


one word came to mind.


FEARLESS.


my life would look FEARLESS.



voskamp quotes john 1:15 in her devotion: the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. my life would look fearless if i ran my race knowing that abundant light, god, will never let the darkness overcome me. my mind wandered to the times of darkness i have experienced. it did not feel like abundant light had not let the darkness overcome me then. it was lonely. it was scary. it was the worst i have ever felt. i did not feel god near me. i could not see how things would get any better. i have thought that my family would be better off without me. had the darkness overcome me? had abundant light failed me?


2 samuel 22:29

you, lord, are my lamp; the lord turns my darkness into light.


psalm 18:28

you, lord, keep my lamp burning; my god turns my darkness into light.


psalm 112:4

even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.


psalm 139:12

even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine light the day, for darkness is as light to you.


john 8:12

when jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "i am the light of the world. whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."


john 12:46

i have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.


1 john 1:5

this is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: god is light; in him there is no darkness at all.


what is darkness? what does it mean? elsewhere in the bible it appears to refer to sin and death. there is no sin or death in god. no one who believes in him stays in sin and death. there is a lot of use of the word "darkness" in the book of job. of the 107 times "darkness" is used in the old testament, 29 uses occur in job. that's almost a third. god allows satan to test job and satan does a bang up job (no pun intended) of taking everything away from job except god. he loses his family, his livelihood, his health, his friends. so much pain and suffering. towards the end of the book, job is feeling sorry for himself. and honestly, i can't blame him. for real. but god is having none of it. he gives job a reality check and reminds job of who he (job) is and who he (god) is. in job 38:16-18, god asks:


have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep?

have the gates of death been shown to you?

have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?

have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?

tell me, if you know all this.


so, spoiler alert, the answer to all these questions is NO, job has not. but god has. job, in his great pain and suffering and loss, has not seen the gates of death, of the deepest darkness, himself. the deepest darkness is eternal separation from god. life after death eternally separated from him. THAT is darkness. that is darkness like i have never experienced, even in my periods of deepest darkness with my mental health. i may have FELT like the darkness had overcome me. but that was not the reality. i may have FELT like god had abandoned me. but that was not the reality.


yesterday as we were reading the big picture story bible bina asked, "where is god?" and "when can we see him?" i had a feeling this was not a concept that she was going to grasp, but i gave it a shot. god is everywhere. did you know, bina, that you, baby sister, daddy, and i -- we all look like god. we are made in his image. we can see him in each other. of course she was not satisfied with my answer and insisted that god was far away and it would take "a wong time" to find him, to see him. oh sweet girl, i hope not. i hope she finds him soon and begins to grow her own personal relationship with our holy and loving father god.


i was on marco polo sending a video to a trusted friend this morning. i explained all that is in my heart regarding adoption, the possibility of growing our family again in the future, and the six month mark coming up when we are to touch base with our adoption specialist. i spoke of the devotion from the way of abundance and how it impacted me. how i so much want to be fearless but i am so afraid sometimes. i wonder if i can handle the growth of our family, by birth or adoption. if we step out and are open to any number of complications or conditions and it's not god's will, what will happen? will i not be equipped to handle the challenges we would face? as i was talking, it dawned on me.


god isn't going to be like -- oh hey brittain, yeah that was not my will for you to say yes to that baby. i'm going to just leave you alone in this. next time you had better make sure i write it in lightening across the sky before you do anything. because i'm not clear about these things in my word. [in case it's not clear -- this is sarcasm. he IS clear about these things in his word so we don't need writing in the sky]. those challenges you're going to face because of the mental health history of that family, because of what the baby was exposed to in the womb -- all that. you're on your own. i didn't tell you to take care of the fatherless.


i mean, get real, brittain. i have a million what-ifs going through my head. what if things are hard. what if i can't give my children the attention they each need. what if i am not strong enough. what if i am not patient enough. what if things don't work out the way i wanted. what if it doesn't go to plan. what if it places stress on my relationship with david. my relationships with friends. my relationships with other family members. what if i lose my mind. literally. what if. what if. what if. WHO THE HELL KNOWS, BRITTAIN. OMG JUST CHILL OUT AND DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING.



god is god. i am not. the darkness has not overcome. the darkness will NEVER overcome because i am covered by the light. i have god. i have the promise of eternity with him once this earthly body of mine is spent. nothing can take away my light. nothing can take away my god. and if he is with me, who can be against me? the point is not to be strong enough in myself to handle all the things, the point is to KNOW my inaqequacy and to really WHOLLY on god and his grace to see me through.


does this mean i will not face trouble? does this mean i will not face depression, insomnia, anxiety in the future? of course not. what it means is that when i am going through times that are dark, the light will be with me through it. if i can just rely on god and his grace and kindness. if i can just continually repent for my own sin. if i can just call on his name, cry out for help, fall on my face before him. admit my own complete inadequacy for any and all of this. that is precisely where he can come in and show his glory. through my pain and suffering he draws me to him. shows me and others my humanity. reminds me of my desperate need for him. of the truth that he is all i need. he is the only unalterable constant in my life. he. is. LIGHT. and in him is NO darkness. AT ALL. he has overcome death and the grave. in this life i will face death. lives lived long and full. lives taken, in my limited perspective, way too soon. is god not god when tragedy strikes? is he not god when things get hard? when they get dark? when it feels like deepest darkness and i cannot see the light? of course not. god is always god. he is always good. kind. holy. loving. lord.


darkness is the absence of light. but somehow there is truth in these psalms:


psalm 112:4

even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.


psalm 139:12

even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine light the day, for darkness is as light to you.


somehow there is light in darkness. somehow the darkness is not dark to god. somehow darkness is as light to god. because he is light. and darkness has not overcome him. so many mysteries we cannot comprehend. that is the kind of god i serve. one that cannot be fully comprehended. one that evokes wonder. i do not want to serve a simple and straightforward god, one that i can fully comprehend. he would be no more powerful than i then. but no, my god is big. his concepts are complex. and i will not fully understand everything until i am in eternity with him in heaven, in the brightest of light.


i return to a familiar refrain: i do not know what the future holds, but i know who holds the future. how can i glorify him right now? by living here. by opening my eyes to who and what is around me right now. in this moment. my exuberant bina and my joyful juniper. my hard working husband. my sweet neighbors. my extended family. my friends i have connected with in all different places. relationships new and old. as i put my head down and stop looking way off into the distance, i see the beauty of what is right in front of me. the opportunity god has given me to be an influencer for his glory. right now. in this season.




i want to live that fearless life. to know that god, abundant light, will never let the darkness, sin and death, overcome me. i don't ignore hardship. i don't pretend it isn't happening. i just know this isn't all there is. i don't just live for right now. i live for the now, and the not yet. the not yet being eternity with god. when hardship comes, like getting to the place where i think my family would be better off without me, i long to be in the presence of god. in his light. i want out of this world. i want in with him. but the reality is, HE is IN me. and like i told my sweet bina, he is in her. he is in juniper. he is in david. he is all around me. i see his image in every single human i encounter. his presence lives in his people, those who have called on his name and asked for him to be king over their lives. i will see him fully, completely, in heaven at the end of this life. but i see him now too. and if we go down the path of adoption and are placed with a baby, and if we go down the path of biological conception and face challenges or complications, and if... he is still god. he is abundant light. and darkness has not overcome him. darkness cannot overcome him. and i thank god for that.

hello there.

brittain here. just sharing my journey day to day with lots of laughs along the way.

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