"I learn best in the dark it seems... He never takes me too far from where he first lifted me."
And that struck me right between eyes. Today I've been confronted with bad news: A hard reality that is soon going to be an immensely difficult reality to endure. And I admit, the thought crossed my mind, "AGAIN LORD??? You don't ever give me a break, do you??" Dark Places. My life is composed of a montage of dark and darker places. And yet through that darkness cuts the pure beam of his Presence - and what does it say? "In his presence is joy"
PS 16:11: "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." ESVJoy is something that is a bit mysterious....It is not at all like what we commonly mix it up to mean. It is NOT happiness. The way I define it for myself is that it is "the consequence or product of Peace, mixed with HOPE." Joy is something that , if we love the Lord and dwell in his love, should NEVER leave us, despite an absence of comfort or happiness. It is not a feeling. It is a dwelling place. A place of existing. A place of rest. It is being held in the arms of your Beloved, knowing that the future is secure and holds "pleasures forevermore"--even though at that moment you have pain and suffer loss, it is undisturbed at its core...because we are held tight in the grip of the One who Loves us, who has gone before us.
I've been in some dark places:
...places that are maybe incomprehensible to you folk who have never suffered from mental illness or severe depression.
The good news about this phrase is that if you tweak it a bit, it is still just as true:
I've never been in a dark place, far from where God will lift me up.
He's there. He's HERE, waiting in the wings for the moment that I should call out to him. Perhaps we have so many dark places because we wait until we're totally blinded - or blindsided - before we will call out to him for his arms to lift us. Maybe you don't know that you're being lifted unless you are in the depths. And what IS darkness, except blindness to the LIGHT. The light is here...just sometimes I focus on the sadness, difficulty and loss and lose sight of all but that darkness. Joy is knowing the Light is not far off...and neither are those everlasting arms or their embrace.
“There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to your help,
And through the skies in His majesty.
“The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;