Light from the Darkness

Currently, I am counseling a very depressed client. She has had no significant trauma, she is not in crisis. She has a loving, supportive family with money to provide for all her needs. She has friends and is smart. There is really no definitive answer for why she is depressed, nothing to point to on the outside. But on the inside she is drowning. Drowning in self doubt, self hate, lies, confusion. She is searching for truth, not able to recognize it when it stares her in the face or when I point it out to her…she cannot see it…she cannot hear it. Despite all my efforts, she is not moving forward in therapy. I am finding myself frustrated with her, with her inability to change, to see, to hear, with her choices to believe lies, just frustrated with her being stuck.

But then I remembered…

I remembered when I was depressed, so stuck…stuck deep down in the dark. There was no trauma, I was not in crisis. I had a loving, supportive family and husband that provided for me, I had friends, I was smart. There was no answer on the outside to the cause of my depression. And just like her, on the inside I was drowning, drowning in self doubt, self hate, lies and confusion.

I knew the truth but just couldn’t believe it…for almost two decades…

Until I did…until my ears were finally tuned to hear and my heart was fertile soil to receive…

And then… slowly…it was a waking up, a coming out, coming up for air, color, breathing deep, smiling big, laughing loud and hard and being surprised. That’s what coming out of the darkness feels like.

I guess I forgot. Sitting in my chair, facing this stuck client, I forgot my stuckness, my sickness…I forgot I was down deep, in the deep, dark pit. In the darkness where no one knows, no one but Him, no one sees the thoughts, the ones that scare you, that shame you, that steal who you are and try to replace you.

But there is one who does not forget, who sees you there, who is with you there, who speaks to you there. One  who also is acquainted with pain and darkness…

“Jesus saw him, and knew how long he had been sick.” John 5:6

“As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord is thinking about me right now.” Psalm 40:17

He knows, He knows you and he sees you. He is with you right now in the pain and knows how long and how deep your sick is.

No one wants to go there, to the mirey pit, but you learn things in the sickness, in the stuckness, in the dark. Those things have purpose and are meant to be spoken in the light, meant to be spoken over other dark souls. I learned lessons there that couldn’t be learned any other way. Lessons that can be spoken over my sweet client. Instead of being frustrated, in my light I can speak to her what I learned in my dark.

There is purpose in the pain. Are you in pain or stuck or sick? Are you in the dark? Listen, listen for Him, look for the meaning, wait for the word, the words over you in the dark that can be spoken in your light. It’s coming. Just don’t forget there is purpose in your pain. He’s not abandoned you.

He’s not just in the glory, he’s on the ground, even below the ground, in the deep, dark pit…He’s there. He sits with you. Sometimes he sits with you awhile there, because the lessons take time, but it’s sacred, on-purpose time. He waste nothing.

We want to rush and  hurry the darkness away, but know there is work, a new work being done in the night that prepares you for the day, for your day…your day to come out, to come up for air, to see color again, to breathe deeply, smile big and laugh loud. Loud enough for someone else to hear and catch their breath…to hear in the light what you learned in the dark.

David instructs us in Psalm 40:

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me and he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the muck and the mire.

He has given me a new song to sing,

Many will see what he has done and be astonished

I have not kept this good news hidden in my heart;

I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.

The Broken Places

David, a man after God’s heart…David, a man capable of great sin and acquainted with the broken places…David, a man whose devotion and passion for God are evident in the Psalms. He loved God so much that he wanted to build a beautiful Temple to honor Him: “It must be a magnificent structure, famous and glorious throughout the world” (1 Chron. 22: 5).

In 2 Samuel, we see that David, Israel’s leader, sins and the nation of Israel is punished. As a result, 70,000 people die at the hand of a death angel. Crazy, right? The angel is prepared to take more lives, but God relents and we see a strange verse:

“The angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor.” (1 Chron. 21:15)

Then David, in a posture of great repentance, exhaustion and brokenness declares:

“this will be the location for the Temple of the Lord…” 1 Chronicles 21:22

Why would scripture point out where the angel was standing? Why is this detail important? Why does it matter that he was standing on a threshing floor?

Threshing floors were flat areas where the grain would be pounded and stomped and torn apart from its stalk so that it could be used for food. It was broken so it could be used.

Are you catching this? That’s right, the most magnificent and holy structure ever built was constructed on ground of great repentance, exhaustion, and brokenness. The Temple of God was built next to where the angel of death was standing, the angel that was summoned because of David’s sin.  The Temple of God was built on a threshing floor, land that was used to beat and separate the grain from its husk to make it useful! Land where David repented for his sins and was broken over what he had done.

And there’s more:

God told David his son, Solomon, would be the one to build the Temple. In 2 Samuel 12, we see that Solomon was conceived out of David and Bathsheba’s grief over their sin and the death of their first child. This child died because David slept with Bathsheba when she was married, and then David murdered her husband, Uriah.  “Then David comforted Bathsheba and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and David named him Solomon.”

Solomon came into this world during a time of his parent’s repentance, exhaustion and brokenness. This child, born out of the broken place, went on to the build the temple built on the broken land.

The symbolism here is incredible. As Christians, we are now called the Temple of God. And we are only made into His temple when we come to a place of great repentance, exhaustion and brokenness. When our sin overwhelms us and we can’t take the death and destruction anymore, we cry out and God gives grace  and we become His temple.

Oh, I can think of so many messy places in my life where I repented, and was exhausted and he just stepped in and built something beautiful on that broken place. 

God is so good to us. He is working on our behalf, fighting for us even in the midst of our sin and hurt and broken places. He was working on our behalf thousands of years ago, when he chose a broken man and broken land and a son born out of brokenness to build his Temple.

He is the Healer of all broken things.

Are you in an exhausted, broken place? Are there unhealed spots in your life that need his care? He will come and he will build something more magnificent than you can imagine on that land that seems barren and useless.

He will say to that place “This will be the location for the Temple of the Lord…”

Will you let him? Are you willing to lay on a threshing floor and cry out and let that barren place be used for his glory? Oh, it hurts and it’s vulnerable but He’s good and He’s kind and he always trades beauty for ashes.

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” – Isaiah 61:3

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18