The Dark Inches

The Dark Inches

The Dark Inches 150 150 Paul Phillips

The young man sat on a stool in my music store the other day, strumming a guitar.  As I had already done earlier, I simply looked over momentarily to check on him, and turned back to my work. The music continued.

He wasn’t the best guitar player to sit on that stool.  Some incredibly difficult and flashy pieces have been played by other musicians there.  Still, he was certainly competent.  And, he was happy.  He smiled the whole time he sat there, fingering the chords and lead lines to the songs, as he hummed along.

I had been on the telephone when he and his brother had walked in the door, so I hadn’t really seen them come in.  Glancing up, I had waved a quick greeting before focusing again on the items I was entering in the computer program open before me.

If I had been free, I might not have been as surprised later when the happy young man finished playing.  Instead of replacing the guitar on its hanger against the wall, he just sat there with it dangling from his hand.

His smile was gone.  While he had been playing, his brother had moved around the corner in the shop and was looking at something against the far back wall.

After sitting uncomfortably for a moment, the young guitarist called out to his brother, “Hey!  I’m ready to move!”

Immediately, the other man turned and, walking rapidly, came to his brother’s side, touching him on the shoulder.  The guitarist held the guitar up and the fellow hung it with the others on the wall.

Then I saw it.  The young man was sightless.

I understood now.  His brother was his eyes in a strange environment.  As he stood, the brother moved close, standing right in front of him.  From there, with a hand on his brother’s shoulder, the young blind man moved easily through the store, back to the guitar strings hanging on the slat-wall display.

If you’ve been in my store, you will understand this is not as simple a journey as it sounds.  Amplifiers jut out from the wall and instrument cases clutter the aisles.  The stack of instruments awaiting repairs is formidable even to sighted folks.

Still, the sight-impaired young man, smiling again, navigated his way easily to and from the back of the store.  His hand never left his guide’s shoulder and the guide didn’t fail him.

The young guitarist trusted his brother.

He trusted him and the brother lived up to his expectation.  Not once did the duo run into anything.  Never did the blind man get hung up on the corner of a counter, nor did he trip over any unseen obstacle in his way.

He trusted his guide.

What is it like to have to trust someone else completely?

Some who read or hear these words already have an intimate knowledge of the experience.  The absence of physical abilities have made laughable the claim of being captain of their own ship.  Without any act of their own will, they must depend upon others for their well-being.  Every day.

I consider that circumstance and I marvel, not only at the courage to face every day of their lives, but also at the helpers who have come alongside these folks and have said by their actions, count on me; I’ll be here for you through think or thin.

Put your faith in me.

But, you know there is more to it than the physical, don’t you?  Before the brothers had walked out my door, my mind was racing.

I trust the God who sees all.

I do.

When I can see it, too.

The disciple named Thomas, the one we have dubbed Doubting Thomas, had nothing on me.

I want to see it.  I’ll believe it, sure—after I see it.  (John 20:25)

Thomas was the same man who had suggested they needed a better roadmap earlier.  The Teacher suggested they already knew the way to where He was going and Thomas objected.

We don’t even know where You’re going.  How do you suppose we’d know the way?  (John 14:5)

I like the practical way Thomas’ mind thought.  I’m all for this trust and faith stuff, but first, give me a GPS and let me see the evidence.

We call it blind faith for a reason.

Mostly, it’s that we can’t see more than a step ahead, but we trust that our Guide will lead us well.  Without seeing the obstacles, nor even the dangers in the dark, we know He won’t run us into anything that will hurt us.

Funny, isn’t it?  I stood on the edge of a life with Him and looked out into the distance and told Him I would trust Him to get me there.  It was a glorious future.  Relationships and family, jobs and ministry—even physical well being—I trusted Him with all of it.  For years ahead, I would walk the road with Him.

I just didn’t expect I’d have to trust Him in the dark.

Surely, He needs my help and advice.  Surely.

As if.

Faith demands that we trust the same for the dark inches as we are willing to trust for the brilliant miles.  Either we trust Him or we don’t.  It’s that simple.


Faith demands that we trust the same for the dark inches as the brilliant miles. @HesTakenLeave Click To Tweet


So, here I am with my hand on His shoulder, putting one foot in front of the other.


And hopefully, smiling as I go.

I’ll work on that, too.



Originally published on Paul’s blog at



Paul Phillips

Paul Phillips is a writer, a fifty-something grandfather, and follower of Christ. He's also a legend in his hometown, having been "owner, janitor, and gofer" of Whitmore's Music in Siloam Springs, AR since 1985. Follow Paul's blog, He's Taken Leave (, where he weaves nostalgic stories of life and faith.

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1 Comment
  • Such a moving testimony, Paul! Yes, we must be willing to follow Him in the dark as well as the brilliant places. Thank you for reminding us of this glorious fact.