There was a moment when I refused God. I told him to leave. I was done with him. Before then I had never known darkness – that space completely void of love.
Since before I can remember I held conversations with God and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was real. He dispelled my childhood fears, like the times I used to freak out imagining real spiders coming out of the spider plant in our bathroom. I’d look straight through the green legs hanging down to reach me. In the bottom of the pot I would imagine I saw Jesus and would begin to repeat the Lord’s Prayer. The tension would ease out of my eight year old self and I would softly float in the water of the bath again. At peace. I’d challenge him, “Jesus, if you are real then … will happen by morning.” He would respond to me, “Liesel, you know I am real, there is no need for that.” I was a child, perfectly loved.
That changed the day I decided that I wanted to live life without him. It was too difficult to believe the things he would tell me: “You are loved. You are worth it. You are beautiful.” His crime was speaking words that I didn’t feel I could believe anymore. So, I told him to go. He did. I was 11. That is when the darkness came.
For the first time, his presence was gone. But I was addicted to perfect love. The withdrawal ate my insides, body, mind and soul. It only took a couple of months until I was only a shadow of who I once was. I shook hands with death only to find it was the devil. Then one night I was given different eyes to see and it remains a vivid memory. I was a curled up, covered in filth. Nothing beautiful was left. But more disturbing was the dark thing that laughed over me. Looking away from it I saw Jesus. He didn’t step in or make a move for me. But he did wear compassion on his face. “If you still want me, then you had better take me now,” were the only words I could manage to say.
In an instant the darkness was gone. Everything was gone! I knew that Jesus had wrapped his hands around me and dealt with the darkness without me having to look. And in those safe hands I was brought back to life in an instant. The love that I had cut myself off from flooded into my veins and my heart began to beat again.
Good Friday means the world to me. It is the day I remember the darkness. That miracle when Jesus, God with us, took on the darkness. He died a criminals death on a cross while grabbing hold of everything inside of this world that doesn’t belong in heaven, wrapping it around himself so tightly that it consumed him instead of us. And there he dealt with it out of our sight, after his last breath.
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, save me!”
The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.
For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.