Last month, my 40th birthday wish came true. I got to tour New York City and see a Broadway show. It was a spectacular and eye opening adventure. Walking through Times Square and Rockefeller Center was exciting and crazy. Visiting the 9/11 Memorial was powerful and Holy. Taking a ferry around the Statue of Liberty and capturing a panoramic view of the city was breathtaking. And a walk through Central Park was a beautiful sanctuary in the midst of a constantly on-the-go city. And it was there, in Central Park, where I snapped a picture that has captivated me. A picture that reveals a desire of my heart. A desire to find the Light in the midst of darkness.
Light in the Midst of Darkness
Sitting in curiosity, I look at the intricate details of this picture and ponder what it is that is drawing me in. The sun pouring in from behind the trees. The rays of light reaching out to touch me. The tall trees with golden yellow leaves covering the city buildings behind them. And a perfectly placed park bench in front of the tree, inviting me to sit. To pause. To rest. Soaking in the beauty of this image, my heart screams, YES!
New York City is exciting and beautiful. For me, a Colorado mountain girl, it can also be overwhelming and suffocating. Block after block of tall buildings, big lights and large crowds of people. Cars, taxi drivers and tour buses filling the streets. Everyone in a hurry and none too shy to honk their horns and let you know you’re in their way. Rushed. Small. Dark. Angry. These are all words that describe a piece of my experience in the big apple. And in my curiosity and my captivation of this picture, these words also encapsulate the condition of my heart.
The Buildings of “My City”
Over the past month, walls of buildings and skyscrapers the size of New York City have gone up around my heart. If I were to give a tour of “my city”, the highlights would include . . .
- Fear Fortress
- Shame Studio
- Loneliness Loft
- Deficiency Diner
As the walls go up, I become small and disoriented. Darkness begins to surround me and I want nothing more than to hide. It is in this place that I ask myself the questions, ‘Where is God? What do I believe about Him in the dark?’ Acknowledging the walls that are closing in on me, I wrestle with what is true, and with what is MORE true. The buildings of “my city” are true. What I am feeling is true. But what is MORE true? Psalm 23:4 of The Passion Translation says:
Lord, even when your path takes me through
the valley of deepest darkness,
fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
Your authority is my strength and my peace.
The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.
What is True and What is MORE True
Navigating the streets of New York City is not for the faint of heart. There is a boldness, confidence and fearlessness needed to walk the city streets in pursuit of the destination. The same is true of my heart. I need a boldness, a confidence and a fearlessness to navigate “my city” in pursuit of my destination. In pursuit of finding the Light in the midst of darkness. And the greatest, most reassuring news of all? I can find this Light. I can find this in my Father. This is what is MORE true.
As I continue to take in the beauty of the picture in Central Park, I close my eyes and envision myself walking to the perfectly placed park bench. Exhausted and battered, emotionally, physically and spiritually. But the invitation to take a seat beneath the large, life-giving tree is still available. The golden yellow leaves push the tall buildings of “my city” into the background. The rays of light pour over my face, blanketing me and filling me to overflowing with a deep, Holy, life-giving rest.
I would like to invite you in and ask you, what does this image stir inside you? What are the buildings, the skyscrapers, the walls in your heart? What do you believe about God when you’re in the midst of darkness?