DayBreaks for 8/19/16 – The Figure in the Darkness
From the DayBreaks archive, August 2006:
From “Our Daily Bread”, October 1: “The early American Indians had a unique practice of training young braves. On the night of a boy’s thirteenth birthday, after learning hunting, scouting and fishing skills, he was put to one final test. He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then, he had never been away from the security of the family and the tribe. But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick woods and he was terrified! Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce. After what seemed like an eternity, dawn broke and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest. Looking around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of the path. Then, to his utter astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It was his father. He had been there all night long.”
Galen’s Thoughts: When was the last time you were afraid? As we get older, we aren’t as afraid of the dark as when we were younger. (But let’s admit it – OK? Aren’t you more easily frightened in the dark – still?!?! I am!) But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have fears. Your greatest fears may now be about your bills, your health, your children or grandchildren or your future. But you have fears. You know yours – I know mine. Sometimes it seems that every time you turn around, you hear a “branch snap” and it seems that your worst nightmare is about to come true.
We are, like the young boy in the story, away from the security of the family and tribe. Our citizenship is not in this world – it is in heaven and we are only passing through (Phil. 3:20). We won’t be home until we get to Heaven. So, in the meantime, we have to endure what I believe Thomas Merton referred to as “the long night of the soul”. The night is filled with sounds that alarm and frighten us – and yes, if we are honest – there are times we are very afraid. We sometimes wonder if we’ll make it.
And then the light dawns and we see we weren’t alone at all. For in the darkness is a figure who was keeping watch over us all during the “long dark night of the soul”, armed and ever vigilant to protect and deliver us in case of any danger. And it is our Father. And our fears vanish with the rays of the Son.
The darkness WILL end someday, and with dawning will come the realization that although at times we thought and felt we were alone, that we NEVER were alone – not even for a second. And then, our Father will take us home.
PRAYER: Father, thank You for watching over us not only during the dark night but at every moment of the day and night for as long as we live. What a comfort it is to know that you are always with us, that we are never lost from Your sight and never outside of Your protection. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.