How Dark is the Dark (2 of 2)

The Martin Farm near Bono, MO

The Martin Farm near Bono, MO

Perhaps the deepest, darkest book of the Bible is Job.  Over thirty times Job mentions or references darkness.  That's over 40% of the Old Testament references to darkness, all contained in one man's book. 

And you say, "I identify!  You ought to read my journal.  If I could bring myself to write a book, it would rival Job's."  Like Job, while sitting in the midst of insidious, black, all-pervasive darkness, you too are calling out for a God that seemingly doesn't answer. 

But is the reputation of darkness all that it's cracked up to be?  Is darkness really that deep?  Is it honestly the absence of light, especially the light of Christ?  Are our only options to hunker down and wait for morning or cut and run in any direction hoping to stumble upon a flicker of light somewhere in the dark? 

What would you say if I told you that the opposite was in fact the truth about darkness?  Have you ever noticed Isaiah 45:3?  “And I will give you the treasures of darkness, And hidden wealth of secret places, in order that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.” 

Did you catch the part about "treasures of darkness"?  Or what about wealth that is hidden in secret places?  And most importantly, did you see that the Lord is in the darkness, the hidden and secret places?  Oh, how often the enemy accuses our Father of being "out to lunch" when we are in a "spot" and can't see our hand in front of our face.  But, such is not the case!  Darkness holds fortunes of faith that the daylight can't reveal.  Hidden and secret places harbor riches that aren't available to those clinging to the crowd and walking the common course.  And for all of Satan's ranting and raving, take special notice of the fact that God is in the dark place, calling you by name, identifying Himself so that you won't be afraid. 

I've never liked being called "son."  Around our house, being called "son" was the rough equivalent to being called by both my first and middle names; that only occurred when I was in trouble.  However, there was one exception:  Granddad.  When I was visiting Grandmom and him, at bedtime he'd turn out the light, stand in the doorway, look back at me tucked securely into bed, and say, "Good night son.  Sleep good.  We've got a big day tomorrow."  And then he'd close the door.  With hope for tomorrow and the voice of someone I trusted explicitly still echoing in my ears, I was enveloped in the dark. 

If Satan is successful with his temptations, we'll view the darkness as a sign of God's disfavor, even abandonment, and think of the dark as an unpleasant and sinister place that is to be viewed with suspicion.  Instead of seeing ourselves securely tucked within the covers of God's care, we'll buy the enemy's lie and go groping along the walls searching desperately and indignantly for a way of escape, oftentimes at any cost.  Such behavior is unnecessary and is not indicative of people who are confident of their Father's care. 

David knew all about the darkness.  In fact, many of the Psalms were penned during dark periods in his life.  Always on the move, hiding in caves, living in the wilderness, and running for his life, in Psalm 18:11 David talks about Who he found in those dark places.  "He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies." 

How dense is the fog?  How deep are the waters?  How dark is it?  The Lord inhabits those places.  You may not be able to see and may be having difficulty keeping your head above the rising waters, but your Father is in those places.  He hides there waiting for you, not to scare you, but to share with you His treasures.  Relax.  Step in under the canopy even though it is dark and thick.  He is there and has made the deep, and the fog, His shelter.  He invites you to join Him.   

Let me encourage you not to rush for answers.  Take time to talk with your Father in the sanctity of His canopy of darkness.  Tell Him what's on your mind, what your dilemmas are, and verbalize the questions you are struggling with.  He may give you immediate input, but He may be silent.  Not because He is mad, but because He might not have anything to say.  Sometimes the best thing is to listen and reassure you by being close.   As a case in point, don't forget that Jesus asked for an answer, when He prayed in the Garden, and didn't get one; otherwise, He wouldn't have asked three times.  But God was there, and Jesus knew it; He kept talking, and His Father kept listening. 

I mentioned Job a few paragraphs back.  This man, so well acquainted with darkness, writes in his book, "He [God] reveals mysteries from the darkness, and brings the deep darkness into light" (12:22).  The thought comes to me that if I'm looking for answers to the deep questions I'm facing, most likely they will come from the darkness.  And, the deeper the darkness the more I must focus on the fact that the Lord brings even the deep dark into light.  In other words, I won't be in the dark forever.  God will give me the treasures of the darkness and they will be in such a form that I'll be able to see them one day, in the light. 

And speaking of light, Matthew says, "What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops" (10:27).  You won't be in the dark forever, and when you emerge, do as David did.  Broadcast it to all that will listen:  "The Lord met me in my dark time."  Endorse His work in your life.  Emblazon your testimony with the fact of God's sufficiency and the light of Christ in your life. 

Calm down and relax.  Embrace the darkness and listen for the Lord.  He is there, and will use the darkness to invest treasures in your life that are inconceivable to you right now.  And when the light dawns, you will indeed have something to shout about from the housetops. 

"Wake up boy; we've got a big day.  Did you sleep good?  Did you get cold?"  It never crossed Granddad's mind to ask if it was too dark.  It wasn't.  He was there, and had been all night.