pastoral/spiritual care

Monsters In the Dark

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” – Psalm 27:1

When I was a children’s minister in North Carolina, my responsibilities included organizing field trips.  One of these took us to Linville Caverns.  The children were fascinated by the beautiful caves.  They oohed and aahed at every rock formation, every stalactite and stalagmite.  It was difficult for me to keep them all together, as they wanted to boldly run ahead on their own to explore.  Our guide told us all about the caves, including stories of explorers who attempted to map them and got seriously lost. Eventually, he said, they ran out of fuel for their lanterns.  To help us imagine what it was like for them, he flipped a switch, and we were enveloped in blackness.  All around me little ones screamed, some rushing toward me and wrapping their trembling arms around my waist.  What had been fun just a moment before was now terrifying.  Tiny imaginations pictured monsters surrounding us, ready to pounce in the darkness.  Not being able to see what was out there was frightening.  Suddenly we heard a click, and the light returned.  Anxieties dissipated as quickly as they had come, and the children laughed because they could see there was nothing to fear.

As we grow up, our “monsters” become more real.  We may fear failure, loneliness, pain, loss and death.  These are made all the more real for us because we see people battling them every day in the hospital.  But just like imaginary ones, these monsters thrive in the dark. When we bring them into the light, they lose their power.  If, instead of hiding our fears, we expose them to God, we see that, terrifying as they are, they have ultimately been defeated.  If we look around us every day, we see God bringing hope even in the darkest and scariest of situations.  There is no darkness too deep for God’s Light to penetrate.

God, you are our Light and our salvation.  Help us to bring all our “monsters” to you.  No matter how scary things seem in our world, we trust that you are more than able to handle our fears.  We give them to you, Lord, and wait for your light to shine through.  Amen.

-- Chaplain Stacy N. Sergent


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