It’s a difficult day today. It’s mind-bending how something can happen and threaten to throw all of my peace out the window in one swift move. The events of today certainly qualify. You know the days, I’m sure. Days when the memories are too overwhelming. Or the threat of harm seems too real or too close. Or when loneliness overwhelms. Things are going along all right, and then something triggers a bunch of “stuff.” It’s times like this when I have to just cry out to God and force myself to focus on the truth.
But what the heck is that? As a survivor of such a horrific reality, the interpretation of what really is “truth” is very tricky.
I could say that my truth was that evil men did what they wanted to do to me and that God did not protect me from that. Truth. I can say that evil men can still do what they want to do to me or to my children. Also true. If these things are my definition of truth, then what I am saying is that truth = reality. And I actually think that’s a fair statement to make. Sometimes it is hard to even know what reality is, but other times it’s fairly clear cut, and it’s still ugly.
So why in the world would I say that in order to deal with this bad day I’m having that I need to cry out to God and focus on the truth? Well, the Bible says the truth sets us free, right? So how does my ugly truth set me free? Actually, what the Bible really says is this:
If you abide in My Word, then…. you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32
So, it is not just any truth that sets us free. I can tell my ugly version of the truth all day long, and I will still be imprisoned by my chains. There is nothing about my version of the truth today that will bring me encouragement that everything is going to be ok. In fact, just the opposite.
Instead, we have to grasp this: It is the truth of God’s Word that can set us free.
But there is one condition. There is this one thing that has to happen in order for truth from the Word of God to actually bring freedom. I must make the decision to take His word at face value, without trying to project my own version of the truth into it. If I decide to mar the truth of God’s word with my own thinking, then it loses the power to set me free. Here’s an example:
This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him is no darkness at all. I John 1:5
When I read that, I have a decision to make on the spot. If I think, “How nice that some people think that…” or “Sometimes, I guess…..” or “Well, mostly He is light…” then it loses the power to set me free. I am choosing my version of truth over the version of truth that actually has the power to free me, thereby actually rendering it powerless! I walk away with nothing.
Instead, I must simplify. I must make the choice to read it and not add to it, or take away from it, or rationalize a different understanding than what is clearly stated. If it says there is not darkness in God at all, then it means that there is…..no darkness in Him – at all. Not even a little. Not even sometimes. Not in my past, not in my present, and not in my future.
Under that assumption, here’s the new truth I can walk away with from this particular verse:
If there is no darkness in God at all, then He is incapable of participating in my harm or of having any kind of impure intentions towards me or my children – at all. He doesn’t ever trick me. He doesn’t make promises with the intention of breaking them. He doesn’t set me up to fail. He doesn’t lie. He isn’t flaky or unwilling to help me. He isn’t going to betray me if that’s what happens to work for him. All of these are the qualities of darkness, of which I am all too familiar… and of which He has – none.
And this truth is the kind that actually sets me free. Chains drop, and I am free to cast my current struggle on this truth.
My decision today in the midst of this crazy mess? To call on His name and to focus on the right truth:
God is light….and His light will dispel today’s darkness.