A Box of Darkness

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”
-Mary Oliver


Marking time.

We do this on birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, days that are special for some reason or another. Many times these special days are filled with celebration, joy and happy remembrance.

Sometimes, though, the harder memories try to sneak in. A box of darkness. 

Finding the Gift in a Box of Darkness || rebekahmhallberg.com

I have some friends who struggle through holidays, or a particular day of the year, as that date is so full of painful emotion for them. To some extent, I can understand that.

Have you ever received a box of darkness?

Maybe it was the sickness of a family member, maybe the passing of a dear friend. Perhaps it was a marriage gone wrong, or a very untimely job loss. For some, it may have been that the world walked out when they really needed the world to walk in.

No doubt you have some level of understanding to what I am referring.

My husband and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary. Amazing! Through the years, we’ve definitely had our share of boxes of darkness – a miscarriage, financial woes, many moves, to name a few

I found myself thinking back to the very first night we were married. We stayed in a hotel in Philadelphia, overlooking the Delaware River. There were many lights from Philadelphia and also from Camden, across the river. We were hungry after a long day, and decided to order Chinese food. When the delivery man came, we knew we had over-ordered as he handed us a large bag of food.

That has become one of our very favorite memories of all time! How we laughed that night, trying our best to not waste too much food, but realizing that there was no possible way we could eat ALL. THAT. FOOD!

Sometimes, though, the hard times can sure get in the way of the good memories.

Such is my story. Probably yours, too.

Sometimes the tough stuff of life can seem so overwhelming. Like it really might sweep us under.

We look at our situation and acknowledge the box of darkness, but we do not want it. Why would we? Who would willingly want to accept that kind of “gift”?

No one. Not a one of us. And I think that’s why the quote at the beginning of this post is so appropriate.

At some point in our lives, we are all going to be handed a box of darkness, in some form or fashion. It will likely be shoved in our face, with “no give-backs” and we won’t be able to get rid of it no matter how hard we try.

We’ll try to plan a way to get rid of it, or devise a method to bury it, but we’ll likely be stuck with it.

Whatever our box of darkness, we need to take it to God. We need to allow Him to shine HIS light onto the darkness.

That’s the example we get from Jesus. His box of darkness was to pay the ultimate price for our sins. Even He went to God to ask if there was any other way that our salvation could be accomplished. And then He walked the difficult, painful road to death.

But that wasn’t the end, was it? 

Thankfully, no! That wasn’t the end. It wasn’t the end of His story, it isn’t the end of our story either. Rather, what the world perceived as the end – death, darkness – was merely the beginning. It’s because of that death and darkness that God could raise Jesus from the dead, and that we could have eternal life!

I wish we could avoid the darkness, I really do. It would make life so much easier, more peaceful.

The dark is difficult, it’s hard, and sometimes the only way out is through.

As we all travel through our own times of darkness, while marking time on those special days, we’re able to see some things in a much different light.

That’s how I got around to the memory of way too much Chinese food. The darkness has been intense, but today is a day to mark time.

As I look back over the past 15 years, there have been some great memories!

There has been some darkness, too. But that darkness has really helped me to appreciate the truly beautiful moments!

That’s what God does with His light, in our darkness – He reveals the beauty that’s still there, despite our “gift” of darkness. Don’t worry if you can’t get rid of the darkness – take it to Jesus and let Him work as only He can.

Are you carrying a box of darkness? Pray this with me:

Dear Lord, I don’t want this, I didn’t ask for this, and I’m pretty sure that I can’t deal with this.
But I know you can. And I trust that you’re going to help me through this situation.
I give you my box – this box of darkness – and ask that you will reveal the beauty in this situation.
Help me to be faithful in trusting you, and to remember that you are protecting me.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friend, if you prayed that prayer, please know I’m praying with you. I’m also starting to see the beauty that God is working despite my own box of darkness. Press on. Lean in – lean in to Jesus. If I can help you in any way, feel free to email me, or message me on Facebook, and I’ll be praying with you.

Much love!


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  1. Beautiful reminder. God is enough and He uses those boxes of darkness for good.
    Starla J recently posted…Be an Expert in the Good of Your Husband.My Profile


    Rebekah Reply:

    Thank you, Starla! I’m glad God is in the process of redeeming even what seem like bad situations, and using them for His glory!


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