“It’s bad,” read the text, years ago.
Days before, a cloud came over our reality. A few reports in my husband’s inbox forecasted, foreshadowed. Finances in his main business were not good.
He wore the weight.
We braced ourselves. The landscape before us was a scattered array of fires and their trail. The list of areas in our lives that were getting touched by trial was growing. Finances was one of the few men still standing.
Not for long.
The texts that followed delivered the information that knocked the wind out of me, and knocked him over. A series of accounting errors, corrected, revealed an $80,000 deficit in the business. He had been in the red, living in black — a new kind of introduction to dark, black night.
We met back at the house and I did what Nate had taught me when I faced my own dark nights: I pushed back the furniture and said “time to dance.” We were going to dance on yet another misfortune and believe with our bodies that God was bigger.
My mouth managed to form those words “God is bigger,” but my heart began to wilt. How long, God? How much can one person handle?
The previous day I would have called my lowest. I didn’t realize there were yet more depths to this pit. As the reality sunk in, and our budget stretched to absorb one less income, my heart fought sickness. We were in the thick of our adoption — this blow became just another hurdle on our rock-strewn path to parenthood.
The early winter lingered cold into spring. Our hearts growing cold — the biggest danger of a season intended for so much more than the end of us. Most of our first-morning thoughts and before-bed whispers were centered around this whirlwind which had engulfed our lives. It wasn’t even about the finances, or the infertility, or the adoption delays, or the lost friendships, or the growing tensions in our marriage … they were peripheral. Who was God? Where was God? A crisis of faith was introduced by all these setbacks. Life had become one big setback and we sought desperately to find God in this new maze.
To say “He met us” in these ten-years-we-lived-in-this-one would be an understatement. To speak to the life lessons and wisdom He imparted would be trite.
God came. With treasures.
Isaiah speaks of treasures of the darkness, treasures that come by darkness. Treasures so that you know that it is God who calls you by name.
We got called by name. And that long, dark alley was chock full of gold. Personal gold — the kind of life-changing perspective no price-tag can quantify. Marriage gold — learning to forge a fire with a new best friend who was also making strides in their personal life. And the true gold of all — intimacy with God. We found a friend in God.
The details of this one segment of our lives could fill a book, but the point of this post is to highlight a promise. The promise was first to Israel, then to me, grafted in. Every dark corner … has an opportunity for His win.
Then, it was big. I saw it large when the cost was large, the darkness encompassing. But, daily, I live it in the small.
The insecurity that rises in my heart as I see my sin — again, the small rift with my husband, the misunderstanding between a friend, the child who’s chosen the wrong side of the bed on this particular day. They write darkness on my life. Pockets of darkness which allure my mind into the dark perspective, on me and Him and everyone else around me.
But just as they write, He writes. Re-writes. Gold. Treasures. Himself.
He imparts the golden.
Darkness tells me to shrink back, to cower, to accept my place as forgotten. God says otherwise: press-in, this is where I take ground in your life.
I drive to the gym, swimming, drowning, in the latest circumstantial face-plant asking me to give my day to staring into it, and God whispers another. Treasures, He says. You can have them if you ask for them.
Before me like a movie reel is my history — big and small — of how He not only met me but advanced me — my understanding of Him, my depth perception, and my heart-connect with Him — in the face of every single dark spot.
If you’ll only ask, He says. My promises wait on the shelf for your ask.
So I’ve taken to asking. Every time, every dark corner threatening. God, give me treasures out of this. When I’m tempted to step back, step in, step down, I whisper (or if it’s really bad, I shout :)) take me higher. Deeper in.
Hope-filled perspective can’t help but flourish when a few bad days receive His touch.
God’s people have known darkness since the beginning of time. The ones who know Him, whose faces have felt His warm breath in winter’s dead, know a new kind of endurance. They live a new kind of endurance. Hardship equals opportunity for the kind of gold which can withstand fire. More of Him.
I want that endurance. I want the treasure from my daily darkness. I want Him.
The not-so-end of the story: the year that knew an $80,000 debt also knew an adoption almost-fully paid for without one single solicitation. It knew a business debt which was miraculously eradicated and a fresh fiscal start. It knew new growth, both tangible and intangible.
I leave the details out of the main post because the treasure we found was not financial, it was Him. We met God-provider that year when our bodies fell dark. The story, so much bigger than a pay check … but which included a pay check. The God of our whole-life story, in the details.
All kinds of treasure to be had.