Think On This
It Is So Dark, But I Can See Everything So Clearly Now It Is So Dark, But I Can See Everything So Clearly Now It Is So Dark, But I Can See Everything So Clearly Now It Is So Dark, But I Can See Everything So Clearly Now
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will direct your path. - Proverbs 3:5-6

What we are able to see in our difficult walks in life is limited but God sees everything—our past, our present, and all of our future. There is no darkness in Him.

Preface

One morning Shelia and I were sharing, praying and weeping over the difficult time we were experiencing dealing with her mom's illness. Shelia's mom had been diagnosed with cancer only a few months ago and we were truly struggling with the "why's" of the illness. It had been so difficult seeing her mom suffer and deteriorate over the course of the past six months. We had so many questions. What was God trying to show us through this? Where was He leading us? Is He hearing our prayers? Where will we be tomorrow with this? We knew we must trust God but we were feeling despair.

I had also been struggling for some time with the writing of an experience I recently had during a hunting trip to NW Minnesota. The experience was unique and exciting to me. I was certain God was trying to show me something through it but I couldn't seem to connect all the dots. I had been unable to put it on paper, trying again and again, only to hit a wall with all my efforts. Writing the story of my exciting experience came easily, however, its purpose had not been revealed to me to that point. I wasn't sure if the story even had a purpose. I had determined I might never finish it.

During this sharing time with Shelia, she started pouring out her tearful fears to me and to God. It was then, at that moment, through my tears, I began to pour out to her the words God had been trying to reveal to me that I had previously been unable to see and write. What I had been struggling with had now become so clear. A sudden peace came around me as I began to comfort and share with her what God had revealed to me on that NW Minnesota farm one cold morning in November. Also, I could now see calmness about her that had not been present just moments before. It was from the experience God permitted me to have and my sharing it with her we found comfort, peace, and strength. We placed our trust totally in Him for His purpose in our circumstances. It was not until I found purpose for the writing instead of writing for the purpose that God provided His words to me for this piece: "It Is So Dark, But I Can See Everything So Clearly Now."

It is my prayer that all who read "It Is So Dark, But I Can See Everything So Clearly Now" may find comfort and strength for the unseen and unrevealed plans God has for you in your life. Trust Him! God sees the whole picture in all our lives and He wants only His best for us for His purpose. He directs our paths.

- Bill Lowery

It Is So Dark, But I Can See Everything So Clearly Now

"This has to be the spot where he told me to park," I eagerly thought as I slowly made my way down the dark isolated road. As instructed, I had traveled a little less than two miles from the farmhouse and turned onto the second dirt field-road on my right, turning the headlights off on the truck after I left the paved road. Seeing had become very difficult. I suppose the console lights of the truck had temporarily blinded me. "My eyes will adjust in a moment," I mused. I was following specific instructions—being totally unfamiliar with the area. I remembered him saying, "Just follow the tire tracks in the field along the left tree line until you come to the 'No Trespassing' sign. Park at the sign." This was the first of my friend Don's lengthy instructions. I was now beginning to see just a very short distance in front of the hood of the truck as my eyes tried to adjust to the total darkness. It was 5:00 am, opening morning of deer season and I was so excited about getting to hunt on my friend's 1,250 acre farm in NW Minnesota. Don had invited me up for the weekend—only my second deer hunt ever—the first being last year on his land. Don had introduced me to hunting last year and I had fallen in love with the sport. I had learned so much about the sport and still learning. He told me when I arrived the night before at the farm that he had a special stand picked out for me where some large bucks had been spotted. "The stand is in the swamp and a good walk to get to after you park, but you have a great chance of seeing a large buck," Don told me during our 4:00 am breakfast as we discussed the stand where I would be for the day.

During breakfast, Don had given me very detailed instructions to the stand from where I would park. "There it is," I thought, "just as he said—the 'No Trespassing' sign." As I came to a stop, there was a deafening silence; my vision was still very limited. The outside thermometer on the overhead console of the truck registered a cold 8 degrees. As I stepped out of the truck I could feel and hear the crunch of the frost that covered the grass under my feet. I began to gather my gear very quietly. I tried my best to make sure I had gotten all the essential gear I had brought from the truck but it was still very difficult to see. Don had warned me the hike to the stand was a little rough and a good distance from the drop off point but he assured me he had given me the best stand for the day. Don cautioned me several times before leaving for the stand, "No lights and walk very quietly." I began to go over and over in my mind the detailed instructions to the stand: "From the 'No Trespassing' sign follow the path until you come to the edge of the swamp; then the path will go left along the tree line. The trail runs between the swamp and the tree line. Follow along the trail approximately 300 yards to a cut in the swamp to your right. If you come to a barbed wire fence you have gone too far." "Cut in the swamp? This sounds scary. I can hardly see now! What will it be like in the cut of the swamp?" I posed to myself.

The rolling NW Minnesota land and the clumps of hardwoods along the trail made it impossible to see any farmhouse lights or signs of life anywhere. When leaving the truck, I had seen only one light at a distance of what may have been a farmhouse but it was gone now as I began making my way, straining my eyes for every step. The occasional sound of a car at a distance could be heard traveling along what I assumed was the paved road I had traveled on to the field road—sound must carry a very long way across the rolling hills of the farm land.

The cold I first experienced when I stepped out of the warmth of the truck only a few minutes before was no longer a concern. As I struggled from the weight of all my gear I carried, I began to sweat under all the layers of clothing. The swamp came into view, filled with tall Millet grass dry now from the cold and late summer drought. "There, I see the tree line and the trail continues on as Don had said between the swamp and the tree line," I sighed to myself. The sky was predicted to be overcast for the day and without the light of the moon the hike was going to be more difficult than I had planned.

I could hear Don's words over and over: "No lights, be as quite as possible and you should be in position before first light."

I had been walking for what I thought had surely been three hundred yards from where I contacted the swamp. Questions begin to come: "Maybe Don told me wrong. Maybe I misunderstood. I was starting to be unsure of myself. What if...What if I cross over on someone else's land...What if?" So many "What ifs?" I had not seen the barbed wire fence yet. Don said I would see it if I had gone too far. The trail was filled with turns and I had become a little disoriented in my location. I could still see the faint trail as I walked between the swap and the tree line. It had already been about 15 minutes since I left the truck and I figured I had about another 10 to 15 minutes to the stand. It was taking a little longer than I anticipated but maybe it was because I had slowed my pace a bit, slowing and stopping occasionally to get my breath, change shoulders with my gun and adjust my backpack. "There, I see the cut in the swamp. I'm OK. This is the cut Don was talking about. He said it would be dry as I stepped off the trail from the tree line down four or so feet onto the swamp floor," were my immediate thoughts. The cut was about five yards wide. As I walked down off the trail into the cut the dry Millet grass surprised me—it was higher than my head! Any hope of seeing anything, a light of any kind or a landmark, would now be impossible. I walked about 20 yards into the swamp, then stopped, trying to recall how far Don said it would be to the stand. Again uncertain thoughts: "I don't recall how far he said it would be. I do remember Don saying, 'You will be in the middle of the swamp on the NW corner of my land' and that I would see the stand without a problem when I got close to it." "You can't miss," he had instructed. "If I keep walking I have to come to it. I must trust Don and the directions he had given to me," I resigned.

As I made my way along the cut in the swamp I could hear an occasional rattling of the tall dry swamp grass around me as the crunching of the frost under my large boot's was obviously alerting the wildlife that danger was near. It seemed I had been walking long enough in the swamp to see the stand. All I could see was the dark trail and the lighter shade of the swamp grass on both sides of me. Suddenly I thought I got a glimpse of the stand. Where it seemed to appear wasn't in the direction the trail was taking me. I stopped and strained my eyes to see the stand once again but it had vanished from my vision. "I have no idea where this cut trail is taking me. I must continue to stay in the cut," I assured myself. During my visit last winter, Don told me the swamp covered about one and a half square mile area. "If I get off the trail and go into the grass that is over my head I won't be able to see where I am even after daylight. It can't be much farther; the trail was starting to turn again. Maybe I will see the silhouette of the stand again," I reassured myself. After I had walked about five or so more minutes I saw the stand. Under my breath I began to say: "Yes! Yes! I did it! I did it!"

It was now about 40 minutes before first light. I had just enough time to climb the 10-foot ladder into the stand, get my breath and set up for the day. Still so dark, I had very limited vision. Once in the stand, I had no idea where I was positioned in relation to the farmhouse, the highway or the direction the sun would first show itself. I have to admit that during the long dark walk and through all the turns to the stand I questioned many things: "Why am I doing this? What if I have an accident? How will I get help? How long would it take for someone to realize I am in trouble and come for me?" I wasn't supposed to start back to the farmhouse until after dark.

As I loosened my jacket to cool from the walk, I leaned back against the wall of the stand. I looked out through the open window cut in front of me, beginning to see the very dim light of sunrise and the faint tips of the swamp grass below me. As the light became brighter, I could now see the slopes of the fields as they surrounded the swamp stretching out in front of me. The tall swamp grass was like a lake glistening in the early light—the tip of each tall standing blade of swamp grass covered in frost. What I was seeing and taking in was consuming me. Two dark spots on a hill that sloped to the swamp were slowly coming into focus. Two small deer had slowly and cautiously emerged from the swamp to the edge of the open field for their early morning feeding. Small bright orange dots started appearing in clumps of trees and in box stands that were now becoming visible to me. Hunters outfitted like me had also positioned themselves for the day in the pre-dawn light. "I can't believe it. Over there, I see my truck where Don told me to park this morning. I thought I was—more orange dots behind me—across the swamp, left and right. Don was right. I am in the middle of the swamp and—it can't be—I can see the top of the green roof on Don's house protruding above the trees on the hill above the SE corner of the swamp. How awesome is this!", I exclaimed to myself, thinking I was so alone and only hoping I would be able to make out where I was. An hour ago I didn't know where the trail had actually taken me. "I felt so alone and so unfamiliar with the land. I became afraid at times during my walk. It was so dark. Now I can see everything! My friend's directions were specific and I trusted him," I admitted to myself.

I began to glass over the area around me and reflect on the dark predawn walk to a place I had never been, using only directions from my friend. I started recalling many other walks I had made in my life. Some of those walks were lonely and dark as well. They took me to places I had never been before; many times the walk lasted much longer than I hoped and prayed it would or thought I could survive. Many times, during those walks, I was very afraid. Sometimes I asked, "Why is God doing this to me?" I must confess: during many of those long difficult walks, there were times it appeared God wasn't there even though I had cried out to Him. Why doesn't He answer my prayers? During the walk to the deer stand out in the middle of the head tall swamp grass I kept recalling what my friend had told me about every turn, what to look out for and what a great place it was going to be when I got there: "Trust me," he said. He also gave me a warning sign: the barbed wire fence—I would come to it if I had gone too far or had gotten off the trail.

What we are able to see in our difficult walks in life is limited but God sees everything—our past, our present, and all of our future. There is no darkness in Him. We must trust Him! From the vantage point I had from the stand I was able to see only what was the closest to me before He commanded the sun to rise. Even before first light, He saw everything. He is light! God knows where we are in every walk we take. We don't always know where these walks are taking us, and there are times we feel so alone but He is the path. He is our light. Just as the other hunters were all around me, unknown to me, He is always with us. Also, He places people in our lives unaware to us. Through all the turns of the trail I was on, I felt I was so far away from anything I could identify with because I was unable to see where I was going. There were no visible landmarks. Like being in the swamp on the cut trail, I could see the stand at one point but the trail didn't appear to lead to it. I could have tried walking through the tall thick swamp grass to get to it my way, but I trusted my friend's direction even though it appeared contrary to what I saw.

Looking back over difficult times in life, if God had granted some of my prayers I know now it would have taken me in the wrong direction. There were times I thought God never heard my prayer—only later to see God had a better plan—He saw the whole picture. He knew what was best for me. As I had trusted my friend and his directions, God gives us specific directions in His Holy word, the Bible, to guide our way. We must trust Him! He has also given us many promises in His word. Just as Don had promised the best hunting place for me, God has promised in His word for our best. He desires for us to be in the best place. We will not always know where and why He is taking us on the path in difficult times and we may desire to take the path that seems best to us, but, trust Him—He will direct your path for your best and His purpose. He already knows your tomorrow.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will direct your path. - Proverbs 3:5-6.


Author: Bill Lowery
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