Then she grew up, no longer afraid of dark things around her, but terribly afraid of the dark things inside of her, inside of other human beings. After all, that's where the real darkness lives, isn't it? She watched terrorist-driven attacks flash across her television screen and read about children dying alone, in desperation and starvation. She experienced betrayals of the fiercest kind from those she loved the most, and she withered when the only human protector she had ever know breathed his last shaky, gasping breath. She shuddered when she caught glimpses of her own pride and choking shame, of harmful thoughts and desires she wouldn't dare name. The dark things inside felt powerful enough to destroy her, to shatter her tender and innocent soul in a thousand pieces.
But, the Light.
The Light would not, will not be consumed. The Light "shines in the darkness but the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5). The little girl learned to look for the Light when the darkness was around her, and later she learned to look for the Light when the darkness was inside. The Light came into the world, but the world didn't see it. Even so, the Light penetrated the darkness and the darkness scurried away like a cockroach into the shadows. The darkness could not stand the Light.
That Light, on my darkest of days, on days when I don't understand...that Light brightens my path. When I listen to people speak of giving up chocolate and Facebook while brothers give up their heads and their lives for the sake of the Light, my heart cries and my soul shudders. I cry for the ways in which I, we, have chosen the shadows over the brilliant Light. I shudder when I remember my own darkness, a darkness that I despise but I revel in from time to time anyway. For I "do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do" (Romans 7:15). Even so, the Light shines on. In the midst of evil and darkness and heinous crimes wrought by bloodied human hands, the brilliant Light is steady, constant, unchanging. And that Light will not be overcome.
Today, I remember the Light who came into this dark world and heaped all of that darkness up onto himself, crucifying it on the cross. Today, I remember those around the world who are looking the darkness in its face, not backing down, because they are so familiar with the Light that lives inside of them that they could not possibly extinguish it when the darkness demands they do so. Today, I repent of living with one foot in the dark and one foot in the Light. Today, I pray for more faith, that I would be so confident in the victory this Light has already won over darkness that I would have no fear of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul (Matthew 10:28). Today, I sit by the Light and yet still weep over the darkness, because Jesus did the same (John 11:1-44). Today, that girl who was so afraid of the shadows prays for more courage to stare those shadows down as she gains strength from the Light beaming inside of her.
Today, that girl (not so little anymore) wants you to know that whatever darkness is on your coattails right now...that darkness cannot overcome the Light.