In Amish country right now somewhere far from the confinements of busy streets and hurried shoppers . . . ten thousand fireflies light up a distant purple sky. Suddenly, dusk is transformed by small samplings of light that flicker and shine with some kind of energy we can’t even begin to define except for holy.
And somewhere in the midst of dancing orbs of wondrous light . . .
The moon fades.
Candles go out.
There are no quiet chirpings of an iPhone or dimly lit glow of a late show on the television – for neither exist here. And yet even on the darkest night – this pure and simplistic light still majestically flickers in the distance.
I have always been fascinated with the Amish culture. The men with their long unkempt beards and the women in their simplistic dresses fresh off an autumn line, together they pass down this beautiful tradition of loving God for who He is . . . all the time. And who He is ALL the time is good, just and sovereign – that we know full well somewhere within our heart.
But when the darkness comes it can be easy to forget that God is good and just and sovereign, an all-consuming fire of Light and majesty. Suddenly in the midst of sickness and despair, God is harder to see. Darkness encamps our soul like a firefly reduced to a jar. Our fanciful flight no longer free-formed and spontaneous. It is here, within the confinements of our circumstances, the flicker of our faith dims. Now it dances only when we can muster the strength to place a new bug within an old jar.
And this alone can try our spirit even more.
We’ve taken our faith and placed it inside a glass. Holding it feels better than releasing it because we can control where it goes.
We hold the jar and meanwhile, God holds us.
Why can’t we trust Him with the jar? The faith that belongs to Him shines brilliantly free. The faith that “belongs” to us . . . buzzes tiredly inside the confinements of what we THINK our God can do – until it fizzles. Faith without works is dead. Faith set free is alive! What is stopping us from removing the lid?
Darkness. We are afraid it.
But darkness that seems all compassing can be the invitation to experience the adventure of your whole life. The darkness exists with the light. It can never exist alone. The light needs absolutely no darkness to define it. Darkness is only defined by the light. So where there is darkness there must be too, somewhere, someplace – good and just and sovereign light.
There is an old Amish proverb that goes like this “Don’t doubt in the dark the things God has shown to you in the light.” Perhaps growing up with this simple truth makes the difference in needing the dim light of a television or the quiet chirping of an iPhone to find enough peace to sleep. Maybe it is the one thing that makes the fireflies come back again and again – even on the darkest night, the rain and the storm.
For where there is splendorous light . . . there is an open jar of faith.