“Is it better?” she asked.
A timer went off somewhere to my right; someone’s hot tea must have just finished steeping.
There was movement behind her — the coffee shop was busy for a weekday afternoon.
Trying not to get distracted, I found her eyes again: red and watering.
Is it better?
I knew what she meant.
She wanted the quick fixes: the late night car rides, the last minute impromptu road trip to the beach, connecting with strangers in crowded rooms.
Touch and go relief from the pain, the heaviness—the shadow that clung to her like an old stained sweater she didn’t want to wear anymore.
And she wanted to know if it was worth it to trade that fast-acting medicine for Jesus; she wanted to know if it was better so to keep going back to make-shift solutions that only made her feel “okay” for a little while or if she should take the risk of letting Jesus step into the darkness. You see, she knew what I had known only five years before, and that’s that our Jesus is in the slow, steady good work. He likes to grip the darkness and form it to bow beneath our feet, and that takes time.
Time. We don’t want the healing to take time. In fact, we hate time so much that we are willing to accept fragile little moments of dulled light instead of victory over the thick night if it means that we won’t have to sit in the pain for too long.
And I wonder if that’s what the angel meant when he met Mary at the tomb on the morning of the resurrection: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
We walk through a graveyard trying to find things that will give us life: promotions, pay raises. degrees, a spouse, a child, white picket fences with dream homes, plane tickets, applause, recognition. All good things. But all fleeting. And none that are sustaining.
In the very first few verses in the entire Bible, we find God before anything else existed—God and darkness.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.”
There was only darkness until God stepped into it.
And even today, He still wants to step into the darkness of our lives, sweeping low to whisper, “Let there be light here.”
He’ll do just what He did then— He’ll take our darkness, and He will make us more than conquerors. He’s the only one who can step in and out of it, you know.
While we sit and are overwhelmed by the darkness, we can’t get up and walk out of it without Him. But our Jesus—He steps into our darkness and makes light where there was no trace of light before.
She asked me if it’s better — choosing the One who formed light into the darkness.
Is it better?
He’s the only one who takes my hand and pulls me up to lead me out of it.
Everything else is just a reflection.
It might not happen in a moment or a good memory; I might trip over myself and bump into rough edges as He walks me into light resounding, and it might be blinding at first.
But it’s better because He’s here. Him, the Maker of light.
I want to walk right out of it.
Watch me walk right out of it.
Jenna is a 23 year old storyteller, wife, taco connoisseur, apologist, and hair-dye enthusiast. She asks a lot of questions and quotes a lot of Kanye. Right now she’s learning about becoming fluent in God’s language of hope. You’ll enjoy her abstract writing that’s filled with hope and a truly poetic bend. To learn more about Jenna, follow her on IG.