Tonight I visited with my favorite little girls. First of all, can I just say it’s such a great feeling to walk in the door and see little faces light up because I came over to play with them.
Again, as we played, Twin #1 put a bright yellow scarf over my head. This time, however, I was not getting married (Marriage Wisdom), I was going to see God. She said, “God can see you like this. Your eyes have to be covered so you can’t see him.” I asked her what God was going to say to me and she said he would tell me, “hi,” and “I love you.” Then I asked her why I had to go see God with my eyes covered and she said, as she pulled the scarf away, “so God can say, ‘surprise!'”
I chewed on that for a while. Mind you, this was a scarf that I could sort of see through, but I couldn’t see clearly. I could see light and some of the little one’s face, but that was it. Later, after “surprise!” Twin #1 put the scarf back over my head. When I asked her why, she said, “So you can light up the dark, silly.”
I pondered how many times I felt like I couldn’t see God or what he was doing. I can’t count how many times my vision has been clouded and I grew depressed or disgruntled. Yet there always came a time, even in hindsight, where I saw that God was with me the whole time and that the clouded vision, the not knowing, was a blessing in disguise, because I could not have seen or understood how he was moving all the pieces into place. Trouble is, I know that I have had a disappointed look on my face more than once when God has pulled the shroud over me away and said, “Surprise!”
“Surprise!” is never a letdown for a three year old. They get a kick out of macaroni and cheese, cardboard squares with cartoons on them, raggedy old blankets, mommy’s old slippers, and spoonfuls of ketchup (don’t ask). They squeal with delight over chocolate sauce and pigs in blankets with cheese. You can turn a child upside down while tickling them and they can’t get enough of the disorientation and endorphins. (“Again!”) All of life is a “surprise!” and they recover quickly from the disappointment if there is any to be found.
God uses the cloudy times to prepare us for our surprise, even if we never quite wrap our brains around what he gives or shows us. Even in those cloudy times, we light up the darkness — or at least we’re supposed to. God uses everything for his glory and what a witness it is to endure trials without grumbling, to praise him even when your refrigerator is empty or you’re walking to the bus stop because your car breaks down… or when the bottom drops out of your life and you land on your bum and the clothes on your back are all you’ve got left. Trouble is, too many times we are too busy memorizing and broadcasting Lamentations, seeking pity, when we’re supposed to light up the darkness. Instead, we pathetically blend into it.
Today, two young women approached my desk to ask for rental assistance. They were probably 5-8 years younger than me, nicely dressed, with big smiles on their faces. Their story was short, but it was familiar. They were roommates. One had been laid off recently and the other’s job had been scaled back so much she wasn’t making much money either. They had received an eviction notice and were visiting any place they could think of to get some help to make it through this rough patch, which, by the way, they were not stuck in, just passing through. They smiled, thanked me for my information and told me they were trusting God. I was able to share with them about God’s provision and faithfulness in my own life. They left encouraged and even noted that even if they did get evicted, they knew that God was going to take care of them and he would use it all to his glory — even if it was just to someday encourage someone else going through the same type of situation. Their attitudes and countenances seemed remarkable considering the circumstances, butI know that no matter what, when they finally hear, “surprise!” they will be more than satisfied with what they see/find.
Just so you know, I can’t wait for my surprise, no matter what it is… because the Father always gives good gifts to his children (and I need to remember that). My hope is that I can learn to light up the dark in the meantime.