It grows perhaps the greater

j.r.r tolkein

The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.

I daily look in the eyes of the broken and the abused. I hold the hands of tiny girls who have known what fear looks like as men have hounded them. I have sat with underage girls in clubs and bars, as they shoot me a look of fear pleading for a rescuer. I see the men who have travelled far to find their virgin girl, who they take by the hand and tell them they will care for them, I have seen the tourists, stumble and fall as they film and laugh walking past clubs where girls sit in their tens on plastic chairs in the doorway and wait for someone to stroke their leg and buy them another drink. I have seen the harsh reality of bodies that are sold for their daily bread.

Yes…I have seen darkness. But it doesn’t reign, nor does it deter. For darkness is only in the eyes of those who choose to perceive it. When I first started visiting Soho’s brothels in London, I would come home telling tales of darkness, ‘oh the girls look so broken, the men lewd’, ‘the places so grimy’, ‘the scale overwhelming’. See it was because of my lack of vision that I was actively choosing to partner with the darkness.

I don’t have a day to waste seeing through natural eyes. The devil wants me in this place, hemming me in to a life of limited vision. But, my bible says in Psalm 139:12: ‘for darkness is but light to you’. I must function from this place, knowing that He’s paid the price for me to walk and to see ‘all as light’. For isn’t it too, that darkness emphasises the greatness of the light. For the tiny girl who knew what rape is, now runs even harder in to the arms of love, seeing new mothers who promise to care and craft an Eden of protection around her.

And, this was what I discovered last week, as I stood in front of a group of 30 or so recovering addicts and I told them that because they have seen the depths of the darkness they are propelled at even more force into the glittering heights. That where sin abounds grace runs deeper, where the darkness prevails, light prevails even the more. Like Mary Magdalene, the rejected and the rebuked become the ones who know more than us, perhaps, in the most incredible role reversal, that love was never meant to be worked for, or at, achieved or dreamed off, they are the ones who know that their one responsibility is to let themselves be loved; knowing that love would perhaps not taste so sweet if it wasn’t for the darkness that had gone before.

Satan will continually try to tell me that the things here are to overwhelm me, that the situation is hopeless, the scale out of hand. Yet I know there is one whose light is so bright that heaven has no sun. That the light of the lamb is so radiant there will never be night again. And while I wait to see that light face to face, it is the light that lives inside of me now. The light that penetrates and divides the darkness, that renders it harmless. I don’t need to pray for darkness to flee, because it flees as soon as I walk in to a room. How I see the light is never dependent on my natural eyes, light is never dependent on my ability to see light, light is dependent on the unchanging nature of God. 

Megan Landreth-Smith