For evils have encompassed me without number; my iniquities have overtaken me, until I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails me…
As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.
Psalm 40:12, 17
What I see inside colors what I see outside. If my inner life is a wasteland of fear and anger, I’ll see enemies all around, dark projections that threaten to overwhelm me. Overtaken by my inner darkness, I am blind. Disheartened by the dangerous world, so very aware of my own inadequacies, there is no place for me to hide.
When I rely on my own strength, intelligence, and courage, the world shrinks to the size of my own inner resources. There’s nothing beyond the end of my nose. In such a small place, there is no help. For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever with me. (Ps. 38:17) There is no way to get myself out of the box I created. I need help, and so I cry to God: I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. (Ps. 38:18). Sin isn’t a tally of all my bad deeds and shortcomings, it’s an admission that I’ve lost my way in the darkness. I need someone else to bring me back into the light.
Some people don’t believe in miracles. Walking on water, oil lamps that never run dry, and earthquakes that open jail cells don’t seem believable to some or necessary to others. But under all that is a miracle that’s easy to miss: the miracle of being brought out of darkness into light. To see the light, to take the hand of God when it’s offered (and it’s always offered) is miraculous. Out of the shadows, I can sing:
He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.