Treasures in the Darkness

I have a friend who keeps reminding me that “life just didn’t turn out the way I expected it would.” As I listen to her say this over and over again, I tend to agree with her. Collectively in my small circle of friends, we’ve experienced a wide array of adversity: the untimely death of a beloved husband and father, cancer, a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease, open heart surgery, infidelity and divorce, and chronic pain due to joint issues. We’ve all been challenged to love our adult children regardless of the lifestyle choices they’ve made. My friend speaks for most of us when she proclaims that life hasn’t turned out the way she expected it. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of hurting and broken people in the world today.

Yet, God tells us it’s here in our brokenness and darkness where He gives us treasures (Isaiah 45: 3). He gives us hoards in the secret places of our hurt and pain. I ask myself all the time, “What are the treasures He gives us in the midst of our darkness? When I feel as though I’m drowning in a sea of pain, hopelessness and despair, how am I ever supposed to find a treasure in the midst of it?”

Ann Voskamp hits the nail right on the head when she writes, “Maybe our suffering and brokenness begin a kind of healing when we enter into the suffering and brokenness of the world, right through the brokenness and givenness of Christ.” (Be The Gift, pg. 12). According to Ann, it’s through the acts of kindness and giving that we experience, once again, a full heart.

Who doesn’t experience a deep fulfilling joy when we look upon the faces of those whom we touch? As a person with a physical disability, I often feel very limited in the ways I can reach out to help someone. But God has given me a tender heart for those who are less fortunate and a passion for helping them rise out of their circumstances. More times than not, I feel ill-equipped, knowing there are far more educated people who could help them accomplish so much more. All I can do is freely give what I’ve freely been given – a heart of compassion and a desire to make a difference in their life. I raise up my handful of service as an offering to God and trust Him to multiply it as He wishes.

I’m never really sure if I’m making a difference in anyone’s life. My offerings are so intangible and so hard to measure. Yet, whenever I’m teaching refugees how to speak English or leading a Bible study for the poor and homeless, my heart is at its fullest. In reaching out to help others in their suffering and brokenness, I find healing for mine. I discover there ARE treasures in the darkness and no matter how dark my world is, joy and fulfillment are always found in service to others. It’s in this place that my broken heart is put back together and made whole.

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