Cheshvan is the month that is commonly associated with darkness and gloominess. Some believe that Cheshvan is the month in which the flood occurred which bolsters the idea it is the month of darkness. On the other hand, we must consider that, though darkness and gloom tend to elicit negative emotions, darkness doesn’t mean that the light of the Creator is absent. According to Psalm 18:11, God resides in darkness:
“He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters And thick clouds of the skies.”
Again, just because the times are dark and gloomy doesn’t mean that God is not present in that darkness. In fact, as the Psalmist wrote, He makes darkness His secret place; a phrase that alludes another Psalm.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)
By connecting the “secret place” with “abiding under the shadow of the Almighty,” Psalm 91 suggests a desire for intimacy with God; to be so close to Him, one must enter His dwelling place, the Holy of Holies. Consider the Sanctuary: comprised of the Outer Court, the Holy Place, and then the Most Holy Place. By virtue of their tribal affiliation, most worshipers remained in the court. So imagine throngs of people assembled there desiring to worship God but content to remain outside so that they may enjoy the warmth and light of the sun beaming down on them.
Though His glory permeates the court, and even the Holy Place, His presence rests in the Most Holy Place. If someone desires to draw close to Him and share an intimacy with Him, they must go beyond the courtyard experience. They must venture past the Brazen Altar, past the Holy Place, beyond the veil and enter into the Most Holy Place.
What is not so obvious about this desire to approach the Creator is the fact that, the closer we draw near unto Him, the darker it becomes. In other words. the light of the sun shines brightly in the court; it may permeate the Holy Place; but once you enter the Holy of Holies – the abode of the Almighty, it gets dark. And yet, there is no better place to be is one wishes to be given illumination to see. Just because its dark, doesn’t mean the Creator isn’t there; in fact, He’s never been closer.
Those who abide under the shadow of the Almighty are those who are learning to trust Him, even when they have no idea what’s going to happen. It’s easy to trust Him when we have all the answers and can see the steps in front of us; in other words, it’s easy to serve Him standing in the courtyard under the light of the sun. Trusting Him when we don’t have that light and must maneuver through the darkness is another issue altogether. However, that is exactly where He wants us to be; in a place where we have no idea where to go or what to do and must rely upon Him completely.
As the children of Israel observed the very first Passover, God passed over those homes with the blood upon the door. He passed over His people to protect them from the destroyer, even as darkness and gloom swarmed all around them. Though it may have seemed He was far away, He had never been so close as at that moment.
If we’re going to draw close to Him and abide in His presence, then we must walk through the darkness so that the light of His presence can illuminate the path before us. As the times grow darker, don’t be discouraged when you can’t see the next step in front of you. Press toward the secret place and know that He’s never been closer than He is in those moments.