Finding Christ in the Darkness
The truth is that after death, Christ descended into hell! I can only imagine the darkness, the pain and suffering he experienced there. When I think of extreme emptiness and bitter loneliness, it is the complete and utter separation from God, found only in hell (and in the recesses of our hearts when we make our own pit of despair on earth.)
But Christ overcame even hell! He redeemed even the most abominable of sinners. And the best part is that he is still doing it today.
When Kevin asked me what I would say to people who feel abandoned by God, or so unworthy of his forgiveness, I thought of the image of Christ descending into hell, and later ascending into heaven.
The three enemies of the soul are the world, the flesh, and the devil (mundus, caro, et diabolus). These temptations are naturally and diabolically opposed to the Trinity. They are found in the everyday distractions of our life, keeping us from prayer. They are also born of our weakness to stay awake and watch with Christ; a topic Charles often addresses in the book. And perhaps the one who is most often overlooked is the devil. He is the devious genius who breaths subtly harmful ideas into our ear, tricking us into thinking the thoughts might be our own.
Once I Was Blind But Now I See gives ample instruction on how to listen for and watch with Christ. A reader’s only question would be “how” is God speaking to me and “why” is he allowing these certain things to happen in my life. But the reader will certainly recognize that God is speaking and the he is in fact allowing everything to happen for a reason. Perhaps he did not cause it, he certainly does not rejoice in suffering and anxiety caused within us, but he is allowing certain things to happen for our good. Ultimately, eternity is all that matters and that is where justice is fully realized in its fullness.
We are prodigal sons. We are lost sheep. Some of us have wandered father than others. Some of us have hit rock bottom. But many of us wander in small ways, as sheep often do. We wander from prayer routines, scripture reading schedules and book reading obligations we have made to ourselves and God. Perhaps we have begun to miss church, fallen slack in idle gossip, or put ourselves above our family, friends, and neighbors. We are prodigal sons when the world, flesh, and devil tell us to repeat “WHAT ABOUT ME?”
This book is a key. It is one man’s testimony. His fight with the devil and temptation, which were very real. How has Christ pulled you out of darkness and where do you wander?