Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Some Nights Are Just Darker

Now that summer is over and fall is in full swing, we're busy doing the same things that many other Christian families are doing - running back and forth throughout the week to different kid-type events. For the next 8 months there will be three days a week that dinner is a littler earlier that night, and at least some of us wont be home until well after the usual bedtime for kids. I was the one gone last night with two of the kids, and as I was driving home I noticed that it seemed like it was darker than it should be. I realized that this observation might have been affected by the simple fact that I haven't driven at night in a while and that I was just not used to it, so when I got home I asked Kev if it was me, or if it really seemed like a darker night. He agreed that some nights just seem darker, and that last night did look like one of those.

Something about that stuck with me and it was impossible not to compare it to some of the personal things I'm dealing with right now. Like driving at night isn't something I haven't ever done before, these are things that I have dealt with before, but for whatever reason they feel heavier, and darker, and harder to see through. I know that as we grow in grace and things come along like this, it seems like they should be easier to deal with, but in this case that's just not happening. Not yet, anyway.

Not long ago I read a blog post somewhere that listed the blogger's personal preference on the type of blogs he likes to read, and the type he avoids. One of the things the blogger said that he avoids are blogs that are of a more personal nature, personal journaling types of blogs that chronicle life-events, and that sort of thing. I understand that this sort of blog isn't for everyone, for various reasons, but I can't really put into words just how grateful I am for Christian blogs and websites, webcasts & radio shows over the web that focus in on this very sort of thing. Whether they are the day-to-day life events of a Christian blogger, or they are focused on Christians reaching out to others, they make such a big difference in my own life.

Last night I was listening to a radio show that aired earlier in the day, and I can't tell you how much it encouraged me to look past my own current circumstances and have my focus shifted back onto the larger picture. The show's guests were the parents of a little boy who at 13 yrs old was killed in an auto accident. How they dealt with his death and what they did in his memory has gone on to bless and enrich the lives of countless people in the 35 years since the day they lost their little boy. It is exactly that sort of thing that many of us need to hear, and need to have example of in our lives that make the verse in Proverbs 27:17 so true:

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

How fitting is it then, that the name of the radio program I was listening to is indeed Iron Sharpens Iron? You can listen to the show I'm referring to right here via mp3. Its on every day at 3pm eastern time, but since that's a bad time for me I get to download the mp3 later in the day and listen in the evening. As I sat here listening last night there were times I wanted to cry, and times I wanted to rejoice with these parents. Being a Christian and a parent is definitely not always the easiest thing in the world to do, but I can't imagine being a parent and NOT being a Christian, and not having other Christian parents to come alongside me at times (even if it's only through a radio show) and say "you're doing this right over here, but you can stand some help over there". It may not exactly be said that way, but it's the message that comes through anyway, and I would be a mess without it.

If you're a blogger that posts the routine, mundane, day-to-day events that make up your Christian life, THANK YOU. I read those blogs, and they do make a difference in my life and in the lives of many others to be sure. When you post about your troubles, we pray for you. When you post about things that actually work for your family, verses that bless you, and even such trivial things as laundry soap or hobbies or household projects, those bless me too! When you write about your teenaged kids that are driving you to your knees in tears, we nod in understanding and keep reading. When you write about your cat or your dog, we appreciate the little things in our lives that we enjoy too. When you post recipes that your family loves, we enjoy that and often try them ourselves for our own families.

Some nights just are darker than others, but the Lord is gracious and merciful and will quite often bring alongside us someone to go through it with, or someone who has been there, and is a little light for us while we go through it. I love the deep theological & doctrinal writings to be found online, but without the personal writings as well as the recorded testimonies and the various webcasts with interviews and such, the realistic, practical application of what it looks like and feels like to live the life of a man or woman sold out to Christ, it would just be missing something.