Refuge; 19.75″ x 11.5″; watercolor, ink, acrylic, water-soluble pastel.

Another morning. Another heartbreaking headline. Mass shootings, earthquakes, climate change, disease. I wonder, Where can I go to escape this darkness? Even in the highest mountain refuge, the darkness is still there. In me.

I think of Jesus’ words in Luke 21:25-28 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Jesus saw me, He saw us when He spoke these words. He wept over Jerusalem. He wept at Lazarus’ grave. I believe He weeps with us.

But I also believe that as dark as dark can be, as horrific as suffering can be, it only hints at the inverse – how bright the light can be. How glorious will be the redemption of all creation.

Even now, if you look closely at the darkness, you can see light seeping through. This week another horrible mass shooting unfolded in my hometown. Tragic, violent darkness. But in the middle of it, a man, with no thought for preserving his own life, subdued the shooter to save others. Whenever someone lays down their life for others, I see the light breaking through, more pronounced for the darkness it invades.

In secret places, hidden high in the mountains of Colorado, I find temporary peace. In these places, the unseen Kingdom, where all is redeemed, swings near to my earthly chaos. I glimpse a coming reality, the triumphant reign of Light. I remember that ultimately my only true Refuge is in the heart of the One who gave Himself over to suffer in the darkness, who laid down His life for all. Even me. Who conquered the darkness with Light.

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