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Treasures of Darkness

This is a little new for me.  Writing something so personal.  Making myself vulnerable.

I’m no stranger to writing – I’ve written for years, but it always seems to be business-related, or telling someone else’s story. And now I feel God tugging at me to start telling my story.  The one that is safely and protectively tucked away into the pages of the dozens of journals I’ve filled, morning by morning, for who knows how long.

I’ve shared snippets with friends. The heart-pounding, I-can’t-keep-this-to-myself moments that cause a lightbulb to go off in my brain.  But, for the most part, this is the private me.  The moments hours spent sitting in the same chair at the same kitchen table wrestling with the Lord.  Fighting with Him.  Asking Him why?  When?  Begging Him to change His plan.  He always wins.  And I always manage to come out…. breathing.

“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable….

This word {YHWH} is the sound of breathing.

The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. That these letters are unpronounceable is no accident. Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’… God’s name is name of Being itself.”

~Rabbi Lawrence Kushner (via Ann Voskamp)

Seven years ago, Josh and I began trying for a family.  Eighty-nine months later, we’re still waiting.

Seven months ago, my best friend lost her eighteen-month battle with cancer.  It happened so fast.

After she died, I didn’t open my Bible for a month.  And when I finally did, it all sounded so trite.  I struggled to find a verse on grief that wasn’t associated with sin.  And then I rediscovered Ecclesiastes.  And God showed up:

“To everything, there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die…” (Ecc. 3:1-2)

I began to dig.

The Hebrew word for “to be born” is yalad.  The tense of the word knocked me off my feet: to bear (as a mother), bring forth, to beget (as a father). We typically think of this well-known verse in the context of the person being born, but it is actually referring to the act of becoming parents.

As I forced myself to find some amount of Scripture that I could tolerate through the anger of loss and unanswered prayer, God fascinated me.

There is a time to be a mother (for me – a long wait).  There is a time to die (for her – much, much too soon).  It’s difficult to be a woman in my thirties and to have had the death of my best friend come before the birth of my first child.  Because through those eighteen months, we told ourselves: someday she would be cancer free.  And someday I would be a mommy.  And yet… this was His time.  The timing He saw fit.  A time to become a mother, and a time to die.  These two very specific things are the bookends of sorrow in my heart and are re-shaping the foundation of my faith.  And as the sorrow tries to choke me, He squeezes tighter still and says “I’ve got this.  This time… is in My hands.”

Those moments are my treasures of darkness.  The morning joy that follows a night of weeping (Psalm 30:5) with tears dripping like a distilling of water in a deep, dark cave.  Job knew that well.  In chapter 28 of his book, he realizes that affliction is to him as the refining fire is to gold fresh from the mine.  Because gold found in a river bed doesn’t need the kind of refinement as the treasure dug from the depths of a mine.  He understands that, by exploring the darkest depths of a cave with a torch, thoroughly searching the stones of darkness in the thickest gloom, he will find the most valuable treasures – precious stones that glow like fire. Pure, untouched, life-changing treasures.

In verse 11 of Job 28, we find the reference back to Psalm 30:5 – where he cuts channels to drain off the waters that hinder his mining.  He restrains the streams from weeping, as Jamieson, Fausset & Brown describe in their commentary: “a poetical expression for the trickling subterranean rills which impede him.”

In the most literal sense, weeping may last for a night.  But once the tears stop, joy is found beneath the cloak of sorrow.  Ironically, Job describes miners stopping the “weeping” water to find the precious stones while cleaving to the flint (verse 9).  But in Deuteronomy 8 and Psalm 114, God turns the flint into a fountain of waters!

That morning, as my faith was hanging on my a thread, I understood that there is absolutely a time for weeping.  People have to grieve.  But then they must heal.  And the only way to do that is in the depths of His Spirit.  Diving into the living water, after nearly drowning in my own tears.

So I prayed: When I weep for a night, God help me to cut off the tears and dive into Your rivers of living water in the morning. Because they bring healing.  And somehow… some way… I’ll find joy again.

These are my treasures of darkness.  I do hope you’ll join me for the journey.



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