"He soothes my fears - he makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo his name.
Even in the unending shadows of death's darkness, I am not overcome by fear. Because you are with me in those dark moments, near with your protection and guidance, I am comforted.
You spread out a table before me, provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies; You care for all my needs, anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil, filling my cup again and again with your grace."
Psalm 23 (The Voice)
Do you ever feel like you are standing in the middle of a battlefield - spears and shots and wild enemies grazing past you? Do you just keep ducking, waiting for the Rescuer who has promised to champion you? If you have then you aren't alone. We have all stood here - every single one of us. It might surprise you to know that the one chucking spears has stood where you are too. Gene Edwards wrote a book called Crucified By Christians that rocked my sense of injustice. He said that there was only ONE person who could have held the God of the Universe to the cross; there was only ONE person who could have picked out the nails that would anchor him to the tree that was hand selected. Only God could have done that. Not one person who rallied against Jesus had the power to hold him down - he went willingly, for the sake of the greatest love story to sweep across the earth.
He went for love, he held fast for love, and he kept quiet - not for fear - but for love.
I read this passage from King David's lips and I let my mind hold the picture he is painting. David the outcast, the refugee, the hunted, the anointed, the future King of Israel could see in the dark, friends. He couldn't see the end of the road; he couldn't see his enemies vanquished; he couldn't see the next step. What David could see in the darkest valley of his life was Jesus preparing a table for him in the MIDDLE OF A BATTLEFIELD. David could see a place set for him in the PRESENCE of his enemies. David could see the light of God and that was enough to demolish his fear.
We can see in the dark too, but it is going to require that we close our eyes. We're going to need to open the eyes of our hearts by closing our physical eyes. Rather than letting the battle overwhelm us, or the enemy of our souls close in, we're going to need to set our gaze on the King of the Universe. Want to know something powerful? David didn't say that God cleared the battlefield - he said that God set a table down in the MIDST of it. Divine Love isn't afraid of the attacks we've lived out our lives under - they've already done the work of love, which has undone fear. They aren't afraid of voices that call us names, hands that hold up signs calling us unworthy, judgements that shout profanities over our lives, or perspectives that try to diminish our characters. God is not afraid.
Because they are more. They are better. They are greater. They ARE the love story and they've already written it. The Divine isn't waiting for us to read it - they've already setting the table. And one thing we know about Jesus and tables - all are welcome. Every single person gets to sit at that table and be loved. Every single human being gets the love-gift of redemption. All of us.
It was love that led him to the tree that held him. It was love that called David to see in the dark. It is love that calls us to the kind of brave that chooses to love in return.
If you're in the dark stop trying to SEE - stop striving, stop pushing, stop fighting. Look for Jesus, the Life Light. Look for his table, for the place he has set for YOU. Your name is on that setting, friend. You don't need to wait for daylight, or for a clearing away of the night. The table is for NOW. The love story is for this very moment.
Close your eyes. Deepen your breath. Find the battlefield. See the attacks, the pummeling, the spears flying by your head. And then see Jesus, the one brilliant light, steadily laying out Abundance, More, Yes, and Come. Those are your words, loved ones.
So, pull up your chair. Sit. Receive. Close your eyes so you can see in the dark.