March 5, 2015
We typically think of darkness as something negative or bad, and it’s often associated with evil. Nightfall, devoid of light, blackened, lost, secret, closed, blinded. The Bible often uses darkness to signify “outside of God’s light” … certainly a place we don’t want to be, let alone choose.
As a child, I was afraid of the dark for a few years. I watched many westerns and was afraid Indians might come in my room and burn me at the stake, bury me up to my neck in an anthill, or inflict some other tortuous sentence on me. Some people carry fears like these through their teens and into adulthood. However, I have learned through personal experience that darkness is not all bad. And darkness does not have to be synonymous with the absence of God. Sometimes when darkness comes, it signifies that we are under the shelter and in the shadow of our Lord. (Psalm 91:1) Know that as a child of God, nothing happens to you that He has not allowed.
During times of darkness, there are actually treasures to be found (Isaiah 45:3), along with learning and growth. When darkness comes, most people run from it and consequently don’t see God’s protection or the lessons God has for them. Others distract or soothe themselves from the uneasiness of the darkness by turning to food, fear, alcohol, porn, power, control, anger, or other knee jerk responses. Some people simply sleep through it as if nothing is happening, putting their heads in the proverbial sand.
When events don’t go our way and we feel emotionally uncomfortable, our natural reaction is to assume the situation is against us. This leads to believing the lie that nothing positive will come from the situation. We hold onto that thought even though we know from experiences in school, sports, or the arts that when we practice and train well, we get good results. The “no pain, no gain” maxim is true for spiritual growth as well. When we are born again, we aren’t mature, fully equipped believers in that moment. Spiritual transformation is a process that involves work, effort, self-reflection, self-examination, learning from mistakes, and applying our new skills in times of adversity. So, we must embrace the dark times as powerful opportunities for training and growth. We get to apply what we have learned. This is a test God gives us to get to the next level of maturity and opportunity with Him.
Today, when you find yourself in the midst of what seems like physical and spiritual darkness, turn to God for strength. Don’t run. Rather, look for the treasures in those secret places. While you’re in the dark, turn to His Presence … His Word … His Spirit. Apply the learning and instruction He has given you. Soon you’ll see His Lighthouse guiding you step by step. Look for how He wants to grow or strengthen you, especially in the areas of your life that hold you back. Always search for the positives in the storm, because positives are always present. Whether you run from adversity or you grow because of it is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I know that You are perfect in all Your ways … therefore it is impossible for You to be careless. Nothing happens to me that You have not allowed. When I experience times of darkness – times that You could have prevented – it sometimes feels as if You are being careless with me. Thanks for always having a plan for my growth and success, and giving me courage to follow Your perfect plan instead of my inadequate one. I pray, Father, that You equip me to navigate in the darkness … and teach me how to use that equipment. I pray this in the name of Jesus, who experienced the darkest of times while paying for my sins; And all God’s children say – AMEN!
I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. Isaiah 45:3
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1