I have developed a strange habit over the years. You might say that I hadn’t really developed it like any other habit which grows over time. This habit is really not so much like washing one’s hands or biting one’s lip as it is an instinct, although it is curious for an instinct just the same.
What I do is this: whenever the lights go out suddenly or I come into a place where I really can’t see much of anything at all because of the darkness I instinctively close my eyes. I have no idea when or how this odd habit began and definitely no guess as to why. I do not know if it is something other people do as well or if I am the only one. But for whatever reason, I close my eyes when they aren’t being any use.
Now, of course our habits and reflexes are often not rational and I stand no chance of seeing any better if my eyes are closed. As dark as my surroundings may be I certainly stand a better chance of seeing if my eyes area open. If they are closed they will miss out on the use of even what scant light might still be there and won’t be ready when the light does come on. At the moment I need my eyes most they are shut.
I have noticed, however, a similarly curious habit of the soul that makes little more sense than the silly thing I find my eyes doing in darkness.
People, even of the thoroughgoing Christian sort, often ask how faith can stand in times of trouble. They look out the window at a world gone awry and wonder how they might rely on God. The look inside and ask how they can still hold onto God when all else tears at their grip on Him. How, in short, can they have faith when all looks bleak and frail?
These poor souls are closing their eyes when the lights go out. Asking how we can have faith when all seems dire is like asking how we can bother with our parachute when we are falling. If further analogy is needed please picture a sailor panicking and jumping ship in a storm.
I had a conversation with a young lady who was wondering how close God is when we are in pain. No small question and one that the Biblical writers asked as well. But for the believer God as closer to us than we are ourselves for He makes His home within us. He is not afar off but is closer than here.
Do not close your eyes in the dark. Hold to the one who is here, no matter what dark fear is snarling around out there. That, friend, is faith.