Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Darkness envelopes and seas toss

Aristotle Onassis said, "It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light."  He also said, "We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds."  While Onassis is best known for his business acumen and marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy after the death of John F. Kennedy, his statements both ring true to us today. We can experience a darkness so totally absorbing that it seems to blanket us within what feels like sharp talons just bearing down on us, but it is during those times of the greatest darkness, when we feel all of life pressing in that we often strain just a little harder to see that one ray of light just beyond our present place in life. As he so aptly said, we also must learn to navigate in rough seas - for life rarely gives us totally calm sailing for any length of time!

My salvation and my significance depend ultimately on God;
the core of my strength, my shelter, is in the True God. Have faith in Him in all circumstances, dear people. Open up your heart to Him; the True God shelters us in His arms.
(Psalm 62:7-8 VOICE)

Our salvation (the protection we receive from harm or destruction when in the midst of unending churning) and significance (that which gives us real "meaning" in life) both are found in God - to look elsewhere is just plain not very wise. Most of us will agree that our darkest hour seems to come when we least expect it. If it came with great banners of warning, flashing red lights, and loud clanging cymbals we would probably side-step it every chance we got! But...it doesn't come that way - it comes like a thief in the night - making a beeline right at us and without any intention of stopping short of its mark! Once the darkness begins to settle in upon us, it is hard to escape the enveloping effect it has upon us - until we change our focus away from the darkness and toward that tiny glimmer of light.

Nothing causes us to strain harder to "see" than to be in such total darkness.  It is as though we think if we just "look harder" we will find our way.  Our way isn't in the darkness, it is toward the light. It also occurs to me that it takes very little light to actually change the depth of darkness we are surrounded by at the moment. If we are to realize the "way out" of that darkness, it will come only when we intently focus on that one ray of light we see - the one God places there just so we can navigate our way out of that dark place. We won't always escape the darkness coming, but we can count on a way being provided for our safe passage out of it!

Many times we don't know the significance of the moment we are living right now, but with God's help we can begin to see how today's obstacles actually become stepping stones for tomorrow's safe passage from here to there. Side-stepping darkness is just not possible.  Controlling the seas is just not one of the things we can count on to be within our sphere of influence. At best, we navigate the seas, taking advantage of the smooth sailing days, and developing savvy "sailing skills" when the seas are a little rougher than we might like. Aristotle amassed his fortunes in the shipping industry - sending freighter after freighter across many a stormy sea. No wonder he would use this analogy for life - because he was well-acquainted with the perils of being at sea in the midst of a storm, caught unawares by the bellowing winds, crashing waves, and entangling currents. 

For some today, their sea is tossing them to and fro. The darkness is closing in. Some may even find themselves in the darkest hour with the seas ravaging them from all sides! It matters not how dark it is - it matters that God has provided a light in that darkness. Focus clearly on it, my friend. God's light isn't there by accident. It is there to help us regain focus and stop straining to find our way in the dark place!  Just sayin!