Suddenly, everything went black.
My eyes fought to adjust to the darkness, but nothing came into focus, not even my out-stretched hand mere inches from my face. All sight stripped away, I stood, unable to move.
After receiving an invitation to join the Dialog in the Dark experience in Bangkok, I excitedly agreed, thinking it would simply give me an interesting, new perspective on the world around me. The outcome, however, was much more.
Dialog in the Dark is an exhibition located around the world, where visitors are led by blind guides through a constructed, and completely darkened, space. The experience is meant to give a new viewpoint on “seeing” without our eyes, and bring awareness that “seeing a world without sight isn’t poorer, just different.” (http://dialog-in-the-dark.com)
And so there I was, standing alongside my friend, having no idea what was on the other side of that door.
One after the other, we nervously took a step across the threshold.
“Wow, it’s dark.”
The words slipped out of my mouth before I had time to process the obviousness of my statement. Yet, nothing could have prepared me for the instant disorientation I felt when I could no longer see anything.
I had a moment’s thought to turn around and head for the exit. Glancing over my shoulder, however, only darkness was visible where the door once stood open.
What have I gotten myself into?
All I could do now was take one slow, small step.
They were unwelcome companions that followed along after me, but still I pressed on.
My hand occasionally grazed the wall beside me.
It could only go in so many directions, both of which led to a way out. It was a calming presence in this dark, new world.
But, then…our guide called out to me by name.
“Follow my voice,” she said softly.
I quickly learned that this meant one thing – leaving the comfort of the wall.
It was meant as a reassurance. An indication that she was out there, even when I couldn’t see. However, in my discomfort, it didn’t feel so reassuring in the moment.
The wall was safe.
Leaving it meant facing the unknown.
Who knows what’s out there, in the open space!
No wall to guide me.
Only darkness as far as “my eyes could see.”
A moment passed. I breathed in deeply.
And for the sake of the experiment, I hesitantly let go of the wall.
Using my cane as a guide, I took a several steps forward, hoping not to stumble over anything that might suddenly appear beneath my feet.
A few more steps.
Then, out of the darkness came a small voice. My guide! She was close! Suddenly, I felt her hand gently touch my arm. Relief washed over me, and a renewed confidence.
Letting Go of the Wall
By the end of the tour, I had become so bold in moving around that I would leave the wall without hesitation when she asked, and perhaps a few time when she hadn’t. I reached my hands out, desiring to touch anything and everything. Yes, the darkness was unknown, but there were exciting things out there! New things to discover! But most importantly, I trusted my guide. I knew that if I left the wall, she would be there, just as she promised.
As I left that day, I wondered at the impact an experience like this, though only for a short time, could have on those who went through it.
And a gentle voice spoke to my heart. Clear and sure. And I knew that this was about more than a change in perspective, but a reminder for all of us in this journey of life with Jesus, whether in our ministries, in our families, in our workplaces, in a crossroad of decisions.
We all face seasons of uncertainty.
Sometimes we feel as if we are going through life blind. Truthfully, we are without Him. Situations arise where we don’t know what’s ahead, and we are unsure of where we are going. And God asks us to leave the wall.
Our comfort zone.
Our place of safety.
All of those things we hold onto to – and to trust Him.
It’s tempting to cling to the familiarity of the wall.
Perhaps we cry out, “What will happen if I let go? I can’t see what’s in front of me.”
The unknown seems full of uncertainties.
But even when we can’t see what’s ahead, He can see, just as what was dark to me was visible to my guide. Even in the darkness, she saw clearly, just as God sees what is behind, around, and before us.
In a world that is constantly changing….
…we are threatened to drift away with the tide.
Jesus is the only secure anchor in a sea of restless waves. When all else is shaken, He is not shaken. When all else is uncertain, He is certain.
Kingdoms come and go. Leaders rise and fall. Trends pass us by. Reputations last for a time, but the kingdom of God is forever.
God is our hope.
And He is gently calling for us to follow His voice. To trust that He is in front of us. To trust that He knows the end of the story.
This doesn’t mean that we won’t face difficulties along the way, just as I certainly bumped into things from time to time when I took a step away from the wall.
The uncertainty of the unknown felt like a fearsome foe in the moment. Nevertheless, I knew one thing. My guide was there. I just had to listen to her voice. And through the noise, that voice was saying that I wasn’t lost.
Amidst all the voices of the world, there is One calling out to you. Saying that you are not lost. Even in those moments when you feel like it. He gives sight to what our eyes alone cannot see.
We can step out into the unknown, resting firm in this undeniable truth:
He is there with us.
Let go of the wall.