Into the Darkness

A Voice calls us out,

beyond the well-lit path

into the darkness.

We follow, trembling,

or trembling stay behind.

But whether we heed the call and launch into the dim unknown

or cling to the familiar,

we are changed.

~Penelope Stokes


It’s been a few years since I first read these words, and I’ve reread them several times since. But they’ve never impacted me quite as deeply as they do now. This time they are more than an inspiring little poem. This time they are the Voice that calls me out. And, yes, I’m trembling.

There’s something soothing in the well-lit path, even though I may not like where the path is leading. At least I can see what’s coming. At least I feel some semblance of control. I can’t say that about the uncertainty of the darkness.

But here the Voice calls me, telling me that I don’t belong on the well-lit path anymore. Telling me it’s time to blaze a new trail. And here I stand, trembling – unsure as to whether I should really launch into the dim unknown or cling to the familiar. But I am certain of one thing: no matter what my choice may be, change is coming.

So I stand here and wonder what awaits me in the darkness. I say that I’m waiting for clear direction. I claim that I’m being wise. But am I? Or am I just so lacking in faith that I won’t take that first step even when I know that I know that God’s calling me? And I wonder if this is really the time to “be wise” or the time to step out of the boat and start walking on water.

Here I am, trembling, praying, and waiting for the courage to take the first step.

I Just Want to be a Mirror

“Herein lies the essential difference between fiction and nonfiction: Nonfiction tells us what is wrong and how to fix it; fiction holds a mirror up to our lives and allows us to apply the truth in an infinite number of individual ways.”

That quote by Penelope Stokes entered my mind as I sat before God in prayer one day. “God, I just want to be a mirror,” I insisted. It was never in my plan to have God turn my dreams upside-down. Had I known where God would be directing this whole Beyond Waiting journey, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog today. From the very beginning, I begged Him. “But God, I can’t do this. I write fiction.”

“No,” God corrected, “you write truth wrapped in the guise of a story.”

He was right, of course. He’s always right.

But there’s just something about a good story that brings the whole world into perspective for me. While I hear people say that they find the Old Testament to be culturally irrelevant, I discover some of my greatest life lessons in the history of these flawed human beings. Tell me a story, and I will find where God is hiding in the background. Every story ever told is all about Him. And for that reason, I long to tell His stories.

But of course, God wouldn’t simply have me telling stories- He’d have me stepping outside the box I had formed around my dreams. He would have me expanding the bounds of my imagination. He would still have me telling stories, but they would not always need to consist of the fictional characters that so easily become my reality.

So, writing this blog is me living my dream in a way I never dreamed possible, because only God could make me aware of the dreams I never knew I was dreaming. Only God could knock out the walls I had formed around my full potential. And only God could hold up His mirror and show me what He sees when He looks at my life.

So I’ve changed my tune (or at least my prayer.) I just want to be a mirror that reflects God’s glory.