God in the Dark

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler

I wish I were a quick study. I'm not talking about learning higher math or studying nuclear physics. I'm talking about advancing on the path of becoming more Christ-like. But spiritual growth is difficult, and it's often counterintuitive.  Jesus tells me to stop worrying, pointing to the lilies of the field as evidence of God's care. And yet my sleepless nights persist. He tells me to turn the other cheek when my instinct is to raise the other fist. He says to give away my shirt if someone demands my coat. He talks of dying and crosses when all I want to talk about is enjoying every minute of the life I have.  Maybe I suffer from a spiritual learning disability. I can't get it through my head that there's no such thing as an easy path for becoming the person Christ calls me to be.

Carol Kuykendall knows what it's like to follow a path she would never have chosen. Her husband, Lynn, had nearly been pronounced cured when the call came in from the neuro-oncologist with the results of a recent MRI. His brain tumor was back.  This time, Carol says, their fears were bigger because the cancer now has more devastating effects and the statistics for surviving it  are worse. "Yet," she says, "as I look back at our earlier journey down this same unpredictable path, I remember how we discovered surprising doses of God's hope all along the way.

"There's a saying," she says, " that you should ‘remember in the dark what you learned in the light.' But as we begin this journey again, I'm remembering in the dark what I learned in the dark: that God gives us enough light to direct our paths, one step at a time, and what we need when we need it most." Carol is able to share these hope-filled words even though she is suffering from stage 4 ovarian cancer.

Take a moment today to pray for Carol and her husband and for others like them who are suffering in ways we can hardly imagine.  And pray, too, for the faith to realize that no matter how unpredictable or difficult your own path may sometimes be, that God is using the darkness to teach you how to become more like the Christ you love.

(Carol's story is drawn from Daily Guideposts (New York: Guideposts, 2010), 26)

 
Originally published January 11, 2011.

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