Posted by: pmarkrobb | February 8, 2012

the well-lit side

I sat in the midst of a quiet and private moment recently searching the breadth and depth of my vocabulary.  I was searching for the polar opposite of the word “invitation”.  I honestly struggled, and eventually came up empty.  It shouldn’t have been that hard, and I’m convinced that my soul was warring with my intellect, so as not to be exposed.
It required a browse through later in the day to find the perfect antonym.  I found it in the section for the verb “invite”.  It was the only word listed … “reject”.  The battle my soul was waging was not settled by the discovery of the word.  No, that had happened much earlier in the struggle of the quiet space.  Somewhere in the midst of the inner dialog, my soul was convicted and confessed.
That day had started like almost all the others that week … iPad in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other.  I was settling into my sacred space, ready to open my heart to what God had for me that day.  Except somewhere between brew cycle and sacred, a darkness choked out the air and extinguished my light.  I’d love for people to know me only by my sweet and meaningful conversations with my boys, my deep and abiding love for my wife, and my sincere desire to meet the needs of others.  But unfortunately, to know me like that, is to know only part of me.  To truly know me, is to know the wrecking ball that my thought life can be, the dark spaces where my heart can too quickly run to, the great sadness that I can both inflict and become.
Through much sitting with and praying though my dark spaces, I have discovered something about myself.  Something that is most likely true of all of us.  A truth that had me searching for an antonym as I started my day.  In the midst of my dark spaces, at the moment I need Him most, I reject God’s presence.  I’m tempted to say “I don’t invite him into it.”  That temptation is what had me searching for the right word.  But I fear it’s more true that I reject him being a part of it.
So many questions flooded my mind that morning.  Even the seemingly simple ones, had no answer in response, only more questions.  I wish that I could remember them, and I wish that battle had been punctuated with some final and lasting victory.  What I am certain of, are two equally vital truths.  First, that God already knows the depth, breadth and minute details of my dark spaces.  And second, He stands persistently knocking on the well-lit side of the door, wanting desperately to be invited in.
A more-like-a-brother-than-a-friend once shared a brilliant illustration with me.  He said that we so often invite God into ourselves like we invite a newcomer into our home.  We deliver an invite for a specific date and time, and are excited for them to come.  We prepare for their arrival, taking particular care to clean what can be seen and give our best effort to make our home a space they will feel welcome in.  Inevitably though, there is a room or space that we would be embarrassed for our guests to see.  We proudly show off the sparkling spaces, but distract attention from, walk past, or explain away the space they are not welcome in.
God has been so merciful to me as I have been opening doors to those unwelcome spaces.  As doors open, the revealing and healing light of His presence has burst in where once only darkness existed. 
If the story of those spaces sounds all too familiar, I offer you hope and encourage you that the knocking on the well-lit side of that door is Jesus.  Don’t be afraid, He already knows.  And His work on the cross makes it certain that your darkness holds no power over you, if you’ll just invite Him in.  Don’t wait, do it today, do it now!

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