Margaret Powers wrote a poem. It was about a man, but when I remembered it, I saw a woman. She was walking with God, so there were two sets of footprints. But sometimes there was just one, and she didn’t know why. She found out that they were when the Lord had carried her.
Why, I wondered, why didn’t she know the Lord had carried her? Why couldn’t she feel Him? Why couldn’t she see Him? Why couldn’t she hear His voice whispering to her?
But then . . .
. . . it happened to me.
Now I know.
I know that she couldn’t feel Him . . . because she was numb all over.
I know that she couldn’t see His face . . . because the darkness surrounded her like a cloying blanket, a black blanket, thick and suffocating.
I know that she couldn’t hear Him whispering comforting words . . . because the noise of a thousand enemy voices seemed to be shouting in her ear.
I know, because I cried out to God, in the numbness, in the darkness. God, why are You doing this to me?
And I thought I heard only silence. I thought the darkness surrounded me.
And then I thought I heard the enemy laugh.
In Genesis, “a horror of great darkness” fell on Abraham. But in that darkness, God spoke.
In Exodus, though God’s people were frightened, terrified even, by the darkness that surrounded the mountain, Moses went into “the thick darkness where God was.” There the glory of God was revealed to him. Then his face shone. It shone so brightly he had to cover it with a veil.
I saw no glory. I saw only darkness. Show me your glory, I cried. But I did not hear His voice. I did not feel His presence.
How long was it like this? How did I carry on? How was it that so few around me knew?
I read in Psalm 18 that God “made darkness His secret place. His pavilion round about Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.”
Why, oh Lord? Are you not the God of Light and Salvation? Why?
I thought I was beating against heaven’s gates. Was it really just my fists against the floor?
When tsunamis were sweeping across the news, a tsunami swept across my soul.
But He gave me His Word. It looked like ink spattered on a page. Didn’t He say it was alive?
I held it close. I clung to it, as a dying woman, after a tsunami, clings to a plank in the dark, dark ocean. I searched it. I looked for Jesus.
“I am the light of the world,” He said. “He who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. Come unto Me and I will give you rest.”
I thought I was following You, Jesus, I said. But I do not see Your light. I do not feel Your rest. I feel only turmoil and despair. But I will believe, I said. I will trust You. I come. I follow.
“Christ is in you,” said His Word. “The hope of glory.”
I don’t feel Christ in me, I said. But I will believe. I will hope.
“You have put off the old man with his deeds,” said His Word. “And you have put on the new man.”
I feel like an old man, I said. I don’t feel like I’ve put him off. I don’t feel like I’ve put on the new man.
But oh Lord, You have said differently. You are right. I am wrong. I don’t understand it, but I will believe You.
Jesus, Jesus, I will hold on to You. I cannot feel You. I cannot see You. But I will hold on.
Jesus, Jesus, You will hold on to me. In the middle of the storm, when I think I will be dashed against the rocks, You will hold on to me.
I began to sense His presence. The numbness of my soul slowly fell away. I began to feel His gentle touch.
After beholding the glory of God, Moses had to cover his face with a veil.
But His Word said that when I gaze on Him, I won’t have to veil my face. I can behold the glory of the Lord. When I do, when I do, I will be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord.
I will believe, I said. Though I do not understand it, I will believe it.
God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
I began to see His glory. Glimmers of light. Hope. Even, sometimes, even joy.
And then I looked back. The thick darkness was behind me.
His Hope. His Peace. His Love. His Joy. They were ahead.
His Light. His Presence.
He rescued me. He delivered me.
Still, when I turn and look back on the darkness, so thick, still the tears sting my eyes. It seemed that I came within a breath of destruction.
But all along . . .
. . . though I couldn’t feel Him . . .
. . . though I couldn’t hear Him . . .
. . . though I couldn’t see Him . . .
. . . He had carried me.