“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night…”

Within every family there is dark matter, lurking unseen, causing odd interactions, hinting at past grief, provoking reactions that are out of kilter with the facts, altering memories into a dark twist of reality, coloring relationships.

When we are fledglings, our roots just beginning to draw life from our family’s fertile soil, we don’t know what this darkness is. Unwittingly, we are infected. As we grow older, we see the truth.

Christ helps us do this; he makes us aware that something is broken.

He sheds light. The Lord sees it all.

We become aware of the black hole, a space around which the family interacts. Everyone circles the hole, skirting some unknown fact. If we begin to ask those around the precipice, we discover the whys. We trace the effects of the great destroyer—bitterness—in the lives of the broken. We find the source and learn how deeply we are affected. Secrets cannot remain hidden.

“Be careful! Don’t leave town,” says our fearful parent whose sibling was killed before their eyes when they left town. Each time we leave the house, their fear washes over us. We grow up with a phobia of traveling or leaving the house at all.

“Lock up the chemicals!” says our anxious parent whose cousin drank gasoline left in a pan as his father worked on the car, ending the baby’s life and changing everyone in the family. We grow up paranoid; we obsessively double-check; we lean toward OCD.

Does God use the dark stuff? Yes. Nothing is hidden or outside his control. Nothing is obscure or unknown. He orchestrates the dark matter for our good. The broken parts cause us to realize our need for Christ. The residual wounds drive us to his arms. Nothing is pointless. Nothing is wasted. All is used for our good.

From these weak spots come our greatest strengths as we grow, rely on Christ, overcome, and use the oddly-shaped parts for God’s glory. The broken places allow us to minister to other wounded humans. We are all damaged. What are the quirks that came from mysterious sources and from which your greatest strengths have grown? How do they shape the unique beauty of your person?

“…even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you” (Psalm 139:11-12 ESV).