The darkness surrounds me, enveloping my very presence, swallowing my mentalities, and causing me to forget the light. The darkness comes to me like a drunkard, but embraces me like a lover, whispering into my ear like a harlot⸺deadly sweet nothings. At first I resist, pushing the darkness’s grotesque form away from my body, daring to even despise it. But oh how it persists, tracing its long fingers along my face, breathing on my neck, making the temperature rise so that I feel incapable of breathing properly. But suddenly I lose sight of the light I once had my eyes fixed on, and I turn to face the darkness.
“Come,” says the darkness.
“No,” I respond firmly. “I love the light. You are darkness. You will only hurt me.”
“Everyone else who loves the light still enjoys a bit of me,” says the darkness, circling me.
“No, I, I can’t. I shouldn’t. I don’t want to…”
“Oh yes you do. You want me more than you know. Why else would you be looking straight into my eyes?”
“I love the light.”
“The light will understand. You can always go back. You never stay long with me.”
“No, you will bring me into the night.”
“The morning will come.”
Suddenly I realize how close I am to the darkness. I cannot see the light anymore. All around me is darkness completely. I’m already in the darkness. I might as well go all the way. I give in.
My lips press against the darkness, and in a horrific display of death mixing with life, I mix into the darkness until I can no longer recognize my own form. We are one, the darkness and I.
The air becomes heavy, and I can scarcely breathe. This darkness numbs me, blinds me, until I’m lost in the cloud of apathy and desire. But after long, the darkness pulls away from me and slaps me across the face with its right hand, Regret. Shoving me to the ground, it spits on me with Shame, and I feel the weight of my transgression press me further into the ground, until I cry out to the ground to swallow me. It does not, but in this moment I hear the sound of a bird singing sweetly. Where is it? All I can see is darkness. I must find the morning, I must find the light. I pick myself up and stumble out of the smoke and run towards the sound of the morning, until I collapse half naked, in rags and reeking of cheap perfume, at the foot of a mustard tree. The bird sings from within the branches.
Wait, I recognize this tree. I know the feel of its bark well. I have embraced it eagerly many times before.
Where am I?
Suddenly light breaks forth, pervading the darkness, scattering the night. With it my shame multiplies, full realization of my sin tearing at my heart.
I hear footsteps.
I know that sound.
It front of me stands my Love, Light of my life, the Great I Am. The light he carries pierces my soul, and I cry out in anguish, confessing my sin, weeping over my transgression.
Oh God, what have I done?
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Oh God, forgive me! My tears fall faster than a summer’s rain, drenching the ground where I lay in a heap of shame and fear.
“What’s the matter child?”
The sound of heaven breaks past my walls and dismantles my defenses. I cannot respond to such love with anything but truth.
“I’ve been unfaithful!” I cry out, begging for forgiveness but deserving none of it.
The Father says nothing, but takes me over to a nearby river. There he strips me of my rags and cleans me in the river, washing off the stains from my flesh, my dirt disappearing into the purity of the river. Then he picks up a garment, white as snow, and clothes me with it.
“No God, I don’t deserve this,” I say quietly.
“I gave it to you in love, and my love does not expire or run out,” He says, “you only need to accept it. I found this in the dirt where you took it off last night, but I have washed it and made it clean for you once again, for I knew you would come back to me.”
“But, but I’m…a whore.”
“No. You are mine.”
Then he smiles, so widely I cannot tell where it ends, and I rest in his embrace. Never is there a greater feeling than getting lost the arms of the Creator of love. Why would I ever forsake such love? How could I ever forget such grace? Why would I ever leave such peace? What could ever replace such joy?
O darkness, where is your strength?
O death, where is your sting?
In the arms of grace I forget the night and the darkness. All I see is light.
May it ever be so.
“When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.”
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”