From Darkness to Growth

Anyone who has ever had to face a difficult, painful, and dark time in their life will identify with this quote. It will probably resonate with anyone who has struggled to regain their stability and balance during a challenging life experience.

When we find ourselves in that so-called dark place, it’s easy to despair. It’s easy to convince ourselves that things will not get better. Not soon. Not ever. The oppression can even feel like we’ve been buried. Not literally, but there’s enough similarity that the analogy works. It feels like a weight is bearing down on us. We can’t see much light above us. And just as when a person is buried, it may seem like the end of hope for this lifetime.

TAKE A DIFFERENT VIEWPOINT

But consider a different way of looking at the burial image. Picture a seed that’s placed in the ground. It’s covered with dirt. It’s dark down there. There’s pressure above. But this is where the similarity ends. For a seed has only to wait, and growth will come.

And the burial process becomes the gateway to a new life for the seed. A life of growth and production. A life of new possibilities and new adventures. For the seed, life is just beginning. There’s no burial here—there’s life and growth here.

NECESSARY ENDINGS

But life isn’t always a series of new adventures in the same direction. Sometimes life confronts us with the need to make a change in our journey. Sometimes the journey even brings necessary endings. Times when we know that all of the solutions that CAN be tried HAVE BEEN TRIED. When we realize that there’s no going back to where we were, and no remaining where we are. There’s a necessary ending that cannot be denied.

It may be the end of a job. The end of a career. The end of a relationship. The end of a long journey. You don’t want to be rearranging the deck furniture on a sinking ship. What matters is whether you go down with the ship or get to a lifeboat. You may grieve over the fact that the ship is going down. But you need to find a way off the ship and a way to get safely back to land.

YOU MAY NEED TO SAVE YOURSELF

We’ve all heard of the maritime tradition that the captain must go down with the ship. But this is not technically true. The captain is obligated to see that everything is done to save the vessel and her passengers. But if the captain has done everything possible to save the ship and passengers, he may then attempt to save himself. He’s not required to commit nautical suicide in fulfillment of some maritime pact. Even if the ship is sinking because of the captain’s own error—it is nonetheless not mandatory that the captain drown if it’s not necessary.

You can save yourself if you’re in peril. You don’t need to play the martyr. Do what you can to bring about a remedy or solution to the problem. Give it your best efforts. Give it long enough to know you’ve done all you can. Then you may board the lifeboat. It’s okay to save your own life. Your life is just as valuable as the other passengers.

God will often deliver us in a manner that seems, initially, to destroy us.

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

What may at first seem to us like destruction, may actually be deliverance. What may at first seem to us like burial, may actually be planting. Not with death—but GROWTH.

CHOOSE THE APPROPRIATE ROUTE

The time may come when we need to determine which one of two routes should be taken.

One route is to stay the course we’re already on. To keep traveling the same direction we’ve been traveling. Though it may take a while before we arrive at the destination we seek. So we will need to steel ourselves for the journey ahead.

At other times the route will need to be altered. The route must be changed, as we’ll never arrive at the destination we seek by traveling the same route we’ve been traveling. This is one of those “necessary endings.” The ending may be painful. We may not want it. We may do everything in our power to stop it. It may cost us dearly. But we know it must be done. To deny it must be done will make it no less necessary. So we do it.

But be encouraged by the words of Christine Caine. Remember that though it may seem like we’ve been buried, we may actually have been planted. And that which is planted is destined for growth. So embrace the growth. In fact, it may be that the growth would have never been possible without the hardship that preceded it.

We can’t be certain that things aren’t going to change for the better very soon. So move forward with hope. Don’t give up on your future. After all, sometimes when you are in a dark place, you think you have been buried, but actually you have been planted.

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