If you’re like me, the troubling news in this present world leads you to conclude that we are in the midst of great spiritual darkness. There is a darkness descending upon the earth, so dense, that can almost be felt. There is no doubt that we are living in perilous times. And while I can observe this throughout the world, I have to say that I can also see this being manifest in my world. In other words, it seems that over the last few years, crisis after crisis, dilemma after dilemma has come at our family in waves, leaving us, at times, discouraged and distressed.
When I have felt that way, my initial reaction is to say, “God, what’s going on?” or “God, why are you allowing this to happen?” To be quite frank, oftentimes, I don’t feel like I get an answer and that nothing is happening that would alter my circumstance. Its then that I start to wonder, “What’s wrong with me that is preventing me from getting an answer?”
The situation reminds me of being in a school classroom preparing to take a test. When we were in the middle of test, if we encountered a problem or a question that we didn’t know the answer to, we didn’t raise our hand and ask the teacher to give us the answer. We knew that the teacher would not provide any answers while we were taking the test. To do so would undermine the purpose; the reason we were given tests was to discover what we knew and what we didn’t know. The teacher wanted to see what we had learned and what we needed to learn, in the future. So the point is, the teacher doesn’t answer a question while we are taking a test. But just because the teacher doesn’t answer during the test, doesn’t mean the teacher isn’t there. The same is true with our heavenly Father; just because He doesn’t answer when we want Him to doesn’t mean that He’s absent. To the contrary, He’s always there.
In the beginning, before light was mentioned, the earth was engulfed in darkness. Yet in that darkness, the Spirit of God was present and brooding over the waters preparing to bring forth light and life. We typically associate God with light and rightfully so. Having His light shine on our life is not only desirable but is beneficial to our efforts to serve Him. In short, it’s easier to serve and trust God when there is light to illuminate our way. When His light shines upon us, we can more easily see and perceive things and we can know what our next move is. Yes, its much easier to serve Him when there is light upon our path but what about those times when everything is dark? It’s much more difficult to serve Him, to trust Him and place our confidence in Him when everything is dark. In the darkness, we are uncertain of the next step because we don’t have the answer to our questions. In the darkness, it seems as if we are all alone and void of any direction. We need to understand that the Creator who dwells in light, also dwells in darkness. The Psalmist said:
“He made darkness His secret place; His pavilion round about Him were dark waters and thick cloud of the skies.” (Psalm 18:11)
Darkness is His secret place which reminds us of what is written in Psalm 91:
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)
Those who desire an intimate relationship with the Creator understand that means being in His presence. But to be in His presence is to be in His secret place, and according to the Psalm, His secret place is in darkness. And so we can conclude that those who have the most intimate of relationships with Him have learned to trust Him in the darkness, as well as the light. These are the ones who continue to follow and serve Him even when they don’t know what the next step is. The uncertainty of tomorrow doesn’t dissuade them from continuing to trust Him.
Just because it’s getting dark, whether that’s in the world or in your world, doesn’t mean He isn’t there – He’s always there. “If we ascend up into heaven,” He’s there. “If we make our bed in Sheol,” He’s there (Psalm 139:8). There’s no place that we can go and there’s no situation that can occur that He’s not there. In fact, when darkness surrounds us, He may be closer than He’s ever been. Our responsibility in this is to learn to trust Him, even when everything seems to be falling apart. If we are faithful to Him in these times, He will bring us through the dark time and we will be able to look back and see that, even though it was uncomfortable to go through, it served His purpose and was in our best interest.