Sometimes I potentially overthink songs and ruin them for other people. That is precisely what is about to take place.
There is an adorable song (by a great band with a terrifying name) called I Will Follow You Into the Dark.
Love of mine, someday you will die
But I’ll be close behind
I’ll follow you into the dark
No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of the spark
If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied
Illuminate the Nos on their vacancy signs
If there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks,
Then I’ll follow you into the dark.
It’s beautiful. It’s truly being together forever, in the worst and best of times. The trouble comes when I envision myself in that situation: me and my love, in darkness, with heaven and hell fully occupied.
For starters, while there are a number of things about which God has not revealed enough to be entirely clear, there are also quite few about which He was clear. My understanding is that my soul is broken. It is imperfect in the eyes of a perfect God. However, that perfect God became a perfect man, that He could replace the brokenness of my soul with the perfect righteousness of Himself. Because I believe in that replacement and in the loving and just God who orchestrated it, I am going to heaven. The best thing about heaven is not that there are white gates or that I’ll get to see loved ones; it’s that I’ll get to see God and experience Him fully. I’m quite excited about this. It has formed the foundation of my life. Christ’s example is why I live and love the way that I do. It is why I am so happy and positive.
To die and be standing in the darkness with another broken soul would be nightmarish. It would be the absence of God, and thus it would be awfully close to hell, if not hell itself, “No Vacancy” sign or no.
I also have to imagine my trust would be shattered- here I had built a life on faith, hope, and love related to Christ and He had abandoned me- who’s to say this love of mine is sticking around? I’m certainly not going to follow him further into darkness and I would not advise following me anywhere, either, because I clearly do not know what I am doing.
I love that the Bible points this out in 1 Corinthians 15. It makes no secret of the fact that we are relying on something being true and are in quite the situation if it is not true.
“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
“in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.”
It is that same faith, hope, and love for Christ that keep me from fearing that this would come to fruition. I have explained on this blog before why I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus was a real, human person, that He is God, and that the Bible is factual document. I believe that there is evidence to support this. So I look what is stated in something that I have found to be true. I look at what Jesus said and did, and I have faith around the bits that haven’t happened yet. I have hope for a better day than the broken and often sad ones we’re living now. I hope through His promises, in which I have faith.
But the Bible points out that the greatest of these three things is LOVE. Love that sacrifices. Love that already followed me into the dark because I was already there. As it says in Isaiah 9 (a classic Christmastime chapter), “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” I was already surrounded by an absence of light, creating more darkness from my own brokenness. It was God who took the initiative, who followed me to bring me to light:
“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)” (Ephesians 4:7-10)
We’re currently celebrating Easter weekend, and Saturday is the day that not a lot seems to be going on. On Friday, we talked about Jesus’ death on the cross, and on Sunday, we’ll celebrate Him being risen and conquering death. I often forget that Saturday represents the time that He was in the darkness retrieving me that He might create light in me.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:9-14)
Praise be to the God who was not content with my residence in darkness, who conquered it for me, and who made me new. Happy Easter!