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It Was the Darkness that Did It

In describing the five-week Antarctic expedition he undertook in 1911, Apsley Cherry-Garrard had this to say:

“The horror of the nineteen days it took us to travel from Cape Evans to Cape Crozier would have to be re-experienced to be appreciated. And anyone would be a fool who went again. It is not possible to describe it. It was the darkness that did it. I don’t believe that minus seventy temperatures would be bad in daylight — not comparatively bad, when you see where you are going, where you are stepping, could read the compass without striking three or four boxes to find one dry match. In the mornings it took two men to get one man into his clothes, because sometimes our clothes were so frozen not even two men could bend them into the required shape. The journey had beggared our language: no words could express its horror.”

Such it is in the journey we call life. When days, and weeks, months and even years are recalled. The times in our lives where we were swallowed by desire and sin. Moments where we reflect on our own past experiences and recall the horror of it all. Memories that we prayed we’d forgotten. Where we struggle to find the words adequate enough to express those moments in time. But remember we do. And we soon realize that in those past reflections…

It was the darkness that did it.

And we would be fools indeed if we were to ever traverse those paths ever again. It’s the sentiment expressed in the proverbs.

“Like a dog that returns to its vomit is the fool who repeats his folly.”

Proverbs 26.11

You see, the fool never frees himself from the trammels of his foolishness; his deeds and words always bear the same character to the end. And thus we are accurately described in graphic terms as fools when we journey once again on the paths of sin and unrighteousness. Believing falsely that we can re-experience the moments in our past, where we walked in sensuality and darkness, and come out unscathed. We fail to realize that the shackles of sin restrain us. Mired in our own filth, we seek some semblance of light. Some spark to illuminate our path. To set us free. To provide some means of escape. And yet we find that in actuality we have become once again slaves of corruption.

“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: "The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire."”

2 Peter 2.20-22

Yes. Indeed it was the darkness that did it.

We must learn from our past ordeals. The drudgery of it all. And come to learn the valuable lessons that it brings. We must allow ourselves to become broken in order to be mended. For if we do not, then we succumb ourselves to death eternal. One in which “there will be no special hurry.”

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Repentance demands that we turn away. That we turn to the Light, leaving the past behind and walk anew with Him. And we are to discern that our new journey is not one we traverse alone. Others have trod the same paths. With the knowledge of the newfound freedom from sin because of Him. Because of His life. His sacrifice. His love. And so we run. With endurance.

“…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12.1a-2

Yes, it was the darkness that did it. But that’s in the past. And may it ever be a distant, feeble memory. Grasp the truth. That now and forevermore, it is His blood that did it. That freed us from slavery and allowed us to walk in newness of life.

In His Light.

Salvation and redemption are ours.