The Darkness and the Deep

I heard this song the other day. Not a popular song by any means. Not written or sung by a Christian artist. And not even centered around the premise of any existence of or belief in God.

But it caught my attention and over the last couple of days has become a great source of motivation to fight a battle that we, as believers, all face: The battle against sin.

I’ve recently been struggling with a sin I never thought I would. Anyone else been there? All my life I thought, “Oh, that’s not my deal. I’ve got this issue and that issue, but at least I’m good when it comes to that.”

Seems like the moment we think we’ve got something covered, we are abruptly reminded of our humanity and humbled in our tracks. After all, maybe there’s just one issue: sin. And the form it takes can have a thousand different faces. I actually think we would do well to believe so.

For months, I sat in it. I think I felt like the darkness was too overwhelming – like I was drowning and it was easier to just give in, draw my last breath, and sink to the bottom. And then once I got there, what was the point of trying anymore? I was at the lowest of lows.

As I’ve begun to slowly but surely trudge through the muck, with Jesus leading and guiding me toward light, I came across this song. It’s a song about a man’s struggle. His struggle is with depression and addiction, but it’s applicable to any struggle, expected or unexpected, you might face. A prominent line simply says this: “It only gets darker the deeper you go.”

Yup. I believe that, both biblically and mirrored in the Christian life. This is so true of our sin and it’s effects. I’ve seen it in others, and after this last season of life for me, I’ve felt it, tasted it, and found it to be completely true.

When we find ourselves hopeless in the battle, we give up fighting. We think, I’m already too far gone, I’m already at the bottom. But that’s wrong. While we might think we are just stagnant, just sitting in sin with no movement in our midst, the longer we sit the worse off we become, the darker the darkness and the deeper we get. Maybe there’s no “rock bottom” after all.

First off, let’s talk about how hard this is to watch – to watch someone, someone you might hold entirely dear, sink deeper and deeper. And while we would love to be that rescuing hand, our efforts prove futile in light of our own sin and humanity. Spoiler alert, there is a Rescuer, one Rescuer, and it is not us. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

And then what about when we are the ones who are sinking? When we think we are sitting at the bottom just to realize we’ve gotten deeper and deeper? It’s like we have thick blinders on as we sink and before we know it, we open our eyes and our perspective has changed.

We’ve justified things completely unjustifiable. We’ve placed blame on God and on others. Sin is no longer bitter, Christ is no longer sweet. We’ve drifted further and further away from God, with hard hearts and skewed thinking. We’ve become someone entirely different and we don’t even recognize ourselves anymore.

But just like the conclusion we must make when we see others sinking, we must embrace it for ourselves. The Rescuer has already rescued us, once and for all. (1 Pet 3:18)

Here’s what I know now. It really does get darker the deeper you go. Don’t continue on. Don’t think it’s already as bad as it could get. Don’t justify what God has clearly, in His grace, saved and rescued us from. It’s not too late and you, dear reader, are not too far gone. Nor are you the exception to His grace or outside the extent of His reach. He’s got arms ready to dig deep and forge you out. Repent. Receive grace. (Ps 69:13-14, 1 Jn 1:7-9, Acts 3:19)

Then, let Him heal all the broken places (Ps 30:2). The cuts and scrapes you acquired as you sank. I am here to tell you, that takes time. But it’s a beautiful, redeeming work that He will get all the glory for. Give it time, let Him whisper back to you who you are, what you were created for, what good things He has in store for you.

And if you find yourself sinking again, let your motivation for obedience be the greatness of His grace toward you. Remember His rescue this time, bank on it time and time again, but honor Him with a heart that desires and fights for obedience.