When the pneumonia of last month and its symptoms finally demanded it, I retreated to my chair leaving Dianne and the dog to hold down the bed. Not only was I not sleeping, I was also very sick. If I drifted off for more than a few moments, I would awaken choking and fighting for a breath. This was followed by coughing, coughing so intense I broke several ribs before the pneumonia was expelled.
But God was sufficient.
I read—or finished reading—five books, three of which rendered wonderful, spiritual gains in my life.
I prayed. I walked the streets of my neighborhood at 3:00 AM with only the distant sounds of the city carried on the night air and listened to Father without interruption. We talked about things personal, things related to my profession, things related to my family, and things not related to much of anything. While I missed Dianne and suffered some loneliness from about 10:00 until midnight, once the deep night descended I relished the treasure of uninterrupted darkness to share with God and Him alone.
Again, I don’t know how He did it, but over the course of seven days, with only a pittance of sleep each night and day, I flourished deep in my soul. The dark depths became a treasure I actually anticipated. True, I bordered on a bit of nausea from sleep deprivation and my pneumonia certainly wasn’t getting any better, but in my heart I was triumphant.
While a profound battle raged around me—both physical and spiritual—I focused on Father. Every ten or fifteen minutes I was reduced to a coughing, choking heap on the floor with my head held low to keep from passing out. The fractured ribs stabbed me with each cough and desperate breath. But God not only comforted me, He also met me in my dark place.
Isaiah’s statement is one for dark and desperate occasions: “I will give you the treasures of darkness / And hidden wealth of secret places, / So that you may know that it is I, / The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name (45:3). David seconds Isaiah with this from Psalm 18:11: “He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, / Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.”
Take special note that when sleep evades us it is God who calls our name and invites us to share His secret place.
But why darkness? Why the deficit of sleep? That’s next.