This morning, when I was leaving for work at 7:30, I was too lazy to scrape the ice off my entire car. Instead, I scraped the bare minimum, a couple of holes in the front and rear windshields that would give me enough visibility (or so I thought). As I turned the curve on our road, I was surprised to see bright streaks of pinks and purples and wondered at what it could be. When I got to the end of my road, I realized it was the sun coming up over the mountains. It's pretty eye-opening (literally) when you're so accustomed to the darkness that you almost miss the sunrise.
The same thing happened in a different way at work on Sunday. I've been in a low place in my ministry, questioning this particular calling as my passion (and thus my view of the effectiveness of the ministry) has been lagging. I work with hurting youth who live in a world of hopelessness a lot of the time. They've been subjected to unbelievable pain from the very people who should have loved them the most. As a result of their brokeness, they act out in ways that are often harmful to themselves and others. It's hard to watch their downward spirals and feel powerless to touch them and change their lives. But in a surprising way, they brought light into my darkness.
As it was Halloween, I had been busy setting up a chapel service on fear. The chapel was decorated with spiderwebs, fake spiders, mice, skeletons, and ghosts. The space was lit by only a few candles and scary music played in the background. I planned on leading a discussion on the fears we hold inside and how we often wear "masks" to hide them. Then I hoped to turn it around by showing the many verses in the Bible that urge us to "fear not". But when I went to have dinner with the kids, I was surprised to find a well-dressed bridal party awaiting me. They had coordinated their Halloween costumes so that there was a bride and groom, flower girl, bridesmaids, a father of the bride, and a minister. They had written their own vows and planned a fake wedding ceremony. So I switched gears, helped to direct a fake wedding, and ended up discussing love and marriage instead. We then had a reception feast of candy corn and other Halloween candy, and they carried away skeletons, and fake creepy things as favors!
It was a reminder to me that love always wins out over fear and darkness...when we allow it to. I'm thankful to God for God's light that shows up in the most unexpected places.