Far down, under the ground many of us walk on day in and day out, are roads and buildings and the remnants of long-ago lives and loves. Underground cities, they’re called. I’ve visited the one in Seattle. Peered down through the dark and dust and imagined people, horses, carriages…life.
Under our feet.
In the deep.
I’ve been to other deep places, too, but these weren’t quick visits. Nor were they as entertaining as those old buildings and crumbling streets. These deep places are everywhere.
They’re the places we find ourselves in when life and faith meet struggle and uncertainty. The darkness where we wonder if we’ll ever see the light again. The soul deepness that rises from the core of who we are and wrestles our confidence and peace to the ground. Yes, I’ve been there. Am, in fact, there yet again even as I write this, perched as I am on a sit-down-but-don’t-stay-too-long chair in the Intermediate Care Unit. I’m watching my dad as he sleeps–this towering, redwood of my childhood who carried me when I was weary, who lifted me so high in child play I was sure I could touch God’s smile…who lived faith and truth every day, teaching and guiding me until I turned to the Lord he loved so dear and opened my heart to Him as well…who still stands tall as a octogenarian, so respected and enjoyed by those he’s encouraged and blessed…
Today, Dad is weary. Laid low by some rogue infection that I’ve decided to hate. And as I watch my dad cocooned in heated blankets, trailing the wires and cables feeding information to the monitors, I don’t know what will happen. Not two weeks ago I laughingly informed him he had to stick around for Don’s and my 50th anniversary. “You’ll only be 100, Dad,” I told him. “No sweat.”
The echo of our laughter that day ricochets around me in this deep place, this darkness of not knowing. And, like so many in our world, I want out. I want to be back in the light. Back on the mountaintop. Back where I can lift my face to the bright sun and revel in freedom and blessing and truth. But even as I long for escape, I know…
God is in the deep. His truth, His light…Him. He’s there, and it’s only in these places, these deep, often hard places, that I see Him clearly. That all the dogmas and preconceived ideas and arguments fall away empty, and I’m left murmuring with Paul, “I know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.”
That’s it. Christ. His sacrifice. His presence.
So why am I telling you all this? Because you are writers. And at some point, if it hasn’t happened already, you will understand. You will face your own deep places. Your own dark. And if you’re anything like I am…
You’ll want out.
And that’s okay. Go ahead and feel that way. But then…stay. Embrace the deep places. Rest in the One beside you. And let Him use that place to draw you deeper into Him. Into trust. Into truth.
Because when you do that, you will find something amazing. It’s in the deep that we find our truest story. The story that will permeate what we write and speak and teach. The story that will change us first, and then others. Because it’s from a place of deep truth.
If, like me, you’re in the deep right now, know this: you’re not alone. There are a lot of people there with you, even if you can’t see them. And while their particular deep places may differ from yours, you…we all share a Guide. And we can trust Him.
Every step of the way.
For writers in the deep, or those wanting to go deeper into God, there is a new haven: a podcast to care for your writer’s heart, and a website for encouragement, resources, and refreshment—all from writers, for writers. Come join us at writefromthedeep.com.