Sunday’s message in our series called “Stained Glass: Brilliance from Brokenness” put forth some foundational thoughts when it comes to the Gospel taking your broken life and making something new. The most important thing I took away from the message was when James talked about the Gospel reaching our unfathomable hurts and our deepest darkness. He said, “What I am saying is that the message of the Gospel, the message that the true God is the God who raises the dead, can and does go deep.” James went on to quote a person who experienced deep pain and darkness in Nazi concentration camp, Corrie Ten-boom, when she said, “No matter how deep our darkness, He is deeper still.”
As soon as I heard this quote, my mind immediately jumped to the image of our youth group sitting in the pitch-black darkness of Slaughter Canyon Cave last Spring Break. We went on a trip called Youth vs. Wild and took a “wild cave tour” that was led by two National Park guides. We got so deep into the earth that nothing was able to grow there. The ironic thing was that this point in the tour also happened to be a room in the cavern called the “Christmas Tree Room.” The guide asked our entire group to turn off our flashlights at this point in the tour, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen such deep and utter darkness. You could not even sense your hand in front of your face it was so dark. I really think it was a darkness that was darker than when I close my eyes at night.
We all at times experience darkness this deep in our lives. Whether it is depression, a loss of a family member, your physical body breaking down, a emotional wound or something even deeper still, we all have been or will come to a place where it cannot get any darker for us. And it is important to remember in that moment that wherever you may be, and whenever you hit that rock bottom sense of despair, the Gospel can reach you there too. As James said, that is actually where it specializes in reaching people. It is when we are weak that we can be strong.
Once the Gospel does reach us in that darkness, there is always something brilliant that can be found there that we were not able to see before. On the tour, our guide finally allowed us to turn our lights back on and she told us to shine them right in front of us. What we saw was something so brilliant and magnificent it is actually hard to describe. (While this picture doesn’t do it justice, I have attached a picture I took of the “Christmas Tree”) And that is the message of this series: if you allow the light of the Gospel to reach you in your deepest darkness, there will be something brilliant that is right in front of you. You can trust that God will meet you in your darkness if you will allow Him to. You can trust, as the Psalmist said, that no matter what depth you slip to, God is there with you. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” (Psalms 139:7–8 NIV) Or it is how Corrie Ten-boom said it, “No matter how deep our darkness, He is deeper still.”