Dipping into Darkness

One of the most fun days of my summer included a day at the not so local water park. I was there with the youth I worked with and had a blast.

The park had introduced three new slides since I had last been there. One was open air, one was half closed and half open air, and the third was fully closed. All were ridden on tubes.

The youth I was with had all immediately braved the darkest black hole.

Being the fearful girl I am, I started with the open air one with no intention of doing a scarier option, but being open to the idea if I decided it would be okay.

The first ride was good.

It was fine. I could see what was happening. I laughed pretty much the whole way down. 

Well, except for when it got too fast so I tried to slow myself down - which is hard on a tube ride.

See, I'm brave in the sense that I'll try a lot of things, but I take my time to get there.

I can't remember if it was right after, or later in the day, but one of the youth convinced me to try the next one. This time the first half is in darkness and then the second half is akin to the first ride.

I grabbed my tube, climbed the stairs, waited in line, sat down, and entered the darkness.

Would you like to know what I did?

I prayed.
The entire time.

Oh Jesus, I love You and I'm so scared and OH MY GOODNESS JESUS I'M SO SCARED AND I LOVE YOU and if this is how I die that's okay . . . or something similar.

As I entered the second half of the ride, my heart rate went down a bit, and I realized that I had sort of had some fun!

So later in the day, I got brave.

I went on the fully pitch black ride.

This time I was still scared, but instead of the panic prayer of before I think I sang a worship song or something. I needed Jesus to know that if this was how I died - in this black plummeting hole, He was my final thought and praise.

Long story short. I let myself dip into the darkness.

Step by step, ride by ride, hour by hour, I got bolder and less scared.

Suddenly I would go on any of them, and I would race the youth down.

Fears were gone and I was confident on any of them. I didn't hesitate. I wasn't stopping to consider the safety of the ride. 

I was simply going after what looked fun.

Isn't that just like, or at least, kind like sin?

It was part-way through one of my trips down the ride when Jesus asked my heart if I was dipping into sin in any areas of my life, not really noticing because of the gradual and slow shift.

So often I'll vehemently oppose a certain sin.

Like for example: Telling lies is wrong.

So I won't tell lies.

But then I might jokingly tell a lie.

And then I might joke again.

Or a little white lie will pop up.

Then another.

Suddenly I'll tell a bigger lie.

And I'm caught up (reference this video - just kidding. Well, you can, you should really, because it's a classic - but it has nothing to do with this post except that often when I say or write caught up I start head bobbing like Usher in the video).

Desperately needing redemption and grace but also literally spiraling down a tube ride in darkness with no way out but the light at the end.

What or who is that light?

Scripture illuminates truth because scripture is truth. I can know what is correct and what is incorrect by paying careful attention to the words of Jesus.

    Your word is a lamp to my feet
        and a light to my path.
(Psalm 119:105 ESV)

Jesus is the light.
    The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
. . .   And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
. . .  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 1:9,
3:19, 8:23 ESV)

And I'm called to live out that light.
    “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
  (Matthew 5:14-16 ESV)
  . . . for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
(Ephesians 5:8 ESV)

He always is available.

He always offers grace.

    But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
 (Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV)

 Endless grace for those who call upon the name of Jesus.

    For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
   (John 1:16 ESV)

He is good. 
    Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
    I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
        I have no good apart from you.”
   (Psalm 16:1-2 ESV)

Another part of what Jesus told me on a trip in the black hole sounded a bit like this:
    What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
(Matthew 10:27 ESV)
I'm speaking to you Nadine. I'm telling you words of truth. You need to share them.

I still don't know why God uses me. 

His goodness and grace keep appearing (despite my lack of deserving His grace) and He keeps whispering truths to my soul.

I want to be faithful to His call, whatever that might be.