I was reading through some poetry last night and these words made me catch my breath. I think I’ve heard them before somewhere… The context, the author, and any extra thoughts about it escaped me though. I read it again. What a notion…to request from God himself to illuminate all that is dark within my soul!
Lord knows there’s a lot of it. Darkness so deep I can’t even begin to see where it starts and ends.
And that is why I need Christ.
Because he sees my heart, and knows all the dark corners that I have neglected, refused to see, and have even been hiding from — subconsciously or otherwise.
It’s radical. It’s a revolutionary – or no, maybe just plain scary – idea to ask in vulnerability for the Creator of Light to take a Holy lantern to every cobweb of our souls.
John Milton’s words are tough to swallow, and an even harder prayer to pray. Buried deep within me are the faults I don’t even want to admit to myself, much less my family or Bible study group or even best friends . The little lies and fears I end up believing deep in my soul. The anxiety and shame I allow myself to dwell on. The hurtful comments and judgmental attitudes of my heart. How could I possibly let go of all that to someone Who could expose it all?
What is dark in me, illumine.-John Milton, Paradise Lost
But then, maybe if I surrendered…and allowed Jesus to step into the dark recesses of my heart, I’d feel a bit brighter. A bit less burdened. Maybe it would be easier to breathe and move and live.
If I choose this morning to come defenseless to the throne of God, I can trust in his mercy. I can rely on His grace. Those blankets of darkness – anger, anxiety, hurt, fear, regret – can dissipate into nothing if only I allow Jesus to pour out his grace-light upon them. And instead of that darkness, pure white radiance would flow into those corners instead.
It would flow into and across and over and pretty soon, the whole of my soul would be illuminated with Him.
And that is exactly what I desire.
More of Him. Less of me.
My prayer today – as terrifying as it is – echoes Milton. The vulnerability is worth it when you can trust your life with the Creator.
What is dark in me, dear Jesus, illumine.