Not long ago, I woke up one morning with the word penumbra on my mind. I had actually dreamed about the word. What made it even stranger was that I had no idea of what penumbra meant. So I looked it up in the dictionary and found that it meant partially shaded or obscure. Technically, it’s the glow around the sun that occurs during a solar eclipse. Although the moon shadows the brightness of the sun, an outer radiance remains so that total darkness doesn’t cover the earth.
I realized that a lot in my life right then seemed much like a penumbra…kind of vague and undefined. It’s not that I doubted God was there; I just couldn’t see clearly. Situations beyond both my understanding and control were plunging me into somewhat of a spiritual eclipse. Heavy shadows overcast my quietness and trust and I found myself stuck somewhere between the darkness of idealism’s demise and the light of hope that doesn’t disappoint. About this time, my devotional entry from Streams in the Desert read this: “Do not try to get out of a dark place except in God’s time and in God’s way….Premature deliverance may frustrate God’s work of grace…be willing to abide in the darkness as long as you have His presence.”
The reading of that entry at that particular time didn’t solve all my problems, but it shed just enough light to keep me pressing on. I believe a lot of our Christian walk is like that. God reveals just enough of himself to carry us to the next milepost. To me, those moments are like lampposts of grace. They illuminate the way ahead, keeping us from turning back…
And the darkness isn’t so dark anymore.