From Darkness to Light

by Irina Creek October 6, 2023
“even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:12 (ESV)

I was 10 years old when I first heard the radical message of the gospel.

I come from a country darkened by communism in the former Soviet Union. My family was burdened by alcoholism, landing my father in prison and often throwing my mother unconscious on the roadside. The night my mother walked away from us, all I remember is seeing my older sister, Katya, searching for her through the dark window.

Katya said she had this feeling deep in her chest that we would never see our mom again. And to this day, we don’t know what happened to her; she never came back.

Often, even as God’s children, we face unanswered questions. I don’t know why our mother never returned. I don’t know how we survived those days of poverty and hunger. But before I knew Him, God was already sustaining me through all my unanswered questions.

My sister and I were soon taken to an orphanage saturated in verbal and physical abuse. I remember thinking, Is this how you treat children? One night, the cruelty got to the point where I decided that I hated my life.

That was when God met me. He saw my heart, and even though I did not know God at the time, He nudged me to keep looking forward because all this pain would one day be in my past.

God doesn’t always pull us out of dark circumstances, but Psalm 139:12 reminds us that “even the darkness is not dark to [Him]; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with [Him].” God saw me in that dark place. He knew about my struggles. And by His strength, He allowed me to endure the suffering and step toward a brighter day.

Later, my sister and I were transferred to another orphanage where the caregivers did not tolerate any kind of abuse. The atmosphere was completely different. And soon after we arrived, the director of our new orphanage made an astonishing decision: He allowed Operation Christmas Child to enter with shoebox gifts and share the radical gospel message.

There were many doors the Lord had to open miraculously for those precious shoeboxes to enter my hard-to-reach country, to enter my orphanage, to reach me. There is no one to glorify but Him.

When I received my shoebox gift, everything about it was so exciting and colorful and new! Simple items like hair clips and my own diary filled me with joy. But more important than anything in my shoebox was that through Operation Christmas Child, I heard the gospel for the first time.

To this day, I still remember that life-changing message. They talked about a God whom we can call our Father. They told us about Jesus, who came from heaven to earth to rescue us.

As an orphan, to me, that meant that God is the God of adoption! My dream all through my childhood was to be part of a loving family, and now God was inviting me into His royal family. It felt as if the light had finally won territory over the darkness in my life. I gave my burdens to Jesus and began to faithfully pray and seek after His heart. This seed of faith I received through my shoebox blossomed over the years into a deep-rooted faith in God. The darkness could no longer stop the light from getting in.

We all face darkness today on this side of heaven. But no matter how deep the shadows seem, God sees us. He hears our cries, and He is faithful to answer.

There are still many children who have yet to be adopted into God’s royal family. May we press on in faith because the day is coming near when all believers will be in the light together as the royal family of God.

God, there is no darkness You cannot break through. There is no brokenness You cannot redeem. There is nothing You cannot use for our good and Your glory. Thank You for adopting us into Your royal family! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift was a defining moment in Irina Creek’s life as she began to see that God is the God of adoption. Irina and her sister were later adopted into a Christian family in South Carolina. Today Irina continues the project with her own family. When you pack a shoebox through Operation Christmas Child, you share God’s love with children around the world. Learn how to pack here, and help Proverbs 31 Ministries reach our goal of packing 1,000 shoebox gifts!



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John 8:12, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (ESV).

This week, how can you remind yourself of God’s heavenly perspective in Psalm 139:12?

God reveals Himself as the God who shines bright in our darkness and sees us. He is also our Father, the God of adoption. How do you personally see God in your life? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

© 2023 by Irina Creek. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Operation Christmas Child for their support of She Speaks Conference and Encouragement for Today Devotions.

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