Create by: Hungsu Lim December 9, 2015 at 1:07 pm
[Advent Devotion] Day 9 “Light in the Darkness”
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.” (John 1:5 CEB)
December 4, 2013, will forever be imprinted upon my heart. That day my water broke and I gave birth to my twenty-two-week-old baby girl, Année. I spent hours in labor, hoping against what all the doctors knew would be inevitable. And within two hours of taking her first breath, she died, resting in the loving embrace of her mother and father. Only three days before we had been with our church family preparing for Advent, and now death, darkness, loss, and grief blanketed us. Our hearts were shattered.
The world seemed to be basking in the light and joyful wonder that the season brings, but not me. I sat still in the shadow of my baby’s death, fighting hard not to drown in an ocean of tears and shipwrecked dreams. To welcome her life and then watch it slip away within two hours was surreal and incredibly traumatic. In the face of such unimaginable pain that first night in the hospital, I found myself wondering, at times wailing, “How am I ever going to get through this? God where are you? Where are you now?”
As we journey through our grief, God’s responses to our cries are not always grand or easily identifiable. However, I knew the only way I could survive this “new normal” was to keep looking for God. In order for me not only to survive but to live with the pain of this heartbreak, it was essential for me to keep looking for Love to meet me in the dark. I longed for God to be close, yet God felt so far.
In the following months I waited for the reality of the song lyric, “Night has always pushed up day,”1 and I kept watch for Emmanuel—God with us. There were moments during the early stages of grief when God’s loving presence with me was undeniable. My family and friends became light-bearers for me as they visited us in the hospital and at home, sat with us in our grief during our daughter’s memorial service, provided meals for us, helped me fulfill work obligations, sent care packages, and created space for us to be.
There also were many moments when I had to fight to see Love with me; it was faint through my veil of tears. Yet Love did show up—in silence, in the tender embrace of my husband, and in a random phone call from someone who reached out, not knowing it was the moment I needed it the most. In those moments, the light of Christ penetrated through the darkest of nights, freeing me to see and embrace a hope beyond my situation. They offered the comfort and connection I needed to have the strength to navigate through that very long night and live into the dawning of a new day.
Advent is the season of light, but it also can be a time of darkness for those who are hurting. If you are experiencing a dark night, hold on to the promise that Love will meet you where you are, penetrating the darkness with the light of Christ. And if you are basking in the light and joyful wonder of the season, remember to be a light-bearer to those who may be struggling.
PRAYER: God, be with me from dawn to dusk to dawn again. By your light, help me to navigate through the pain and suffering of life without being overcome. Help me be a light-bearer to those who need someone to guide them through their own dark nights. Amen.
1. Mumford and Sons. “After the Storm.” Sigh No More. Universal Music Publishing Group, 2009. CD.
(from “SENT: Devotion” Week 2 – Jesus Sets Us Free by Lanecia Rouse)
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