Are you afraid of the dark? When I was a kid, I sure was! We lived in Portland, Oregon in this old 4-story house. Often at night I’d hear footsteps coming up the stairs, getting faster and heavier with each thump … only to discover it was my heart beating. Around this time, a friend and I went to a movie that we thought was a drama only to discover it was a horror flick. We ended up sleeping on the floor of my parent's room for a few days. As a result, I had to sleep with a light on. Yep, I was afraid of the dark.
In ancient (pre-electrical era) times, darkness signaled the end of working day. Time to sleep. When there is no light, you can’t see; it’s difficult to move forward, to find your way; and it’s easy to stumble or bump into something. We fear unknown.
The first biblical references to darkness hint at the cosmos experiencing a conflict between light and darkness. We read that “the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep” (Gen.1:2). God’s first creative act is to produce light and separate it from darkness, with overtones of light’s conquering darkness (Gen.1:4–5). With approximately 200 references to darkness and 300 references to night, darkness is a major actor in the biblical drama. Darkness is a physical and spiritual reality as well as an apt symbol for some of the profoundest human experiences.
The good news of Jesus Christ message is about light coming into darkness:
Luke 1:78-79. Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace. NLT
Luke 2:29-32. “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel.” NLT
Matthew 4:16. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” NLT
John 1:4-9. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. NLT
John 8:12. Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life. NLT
John 12:46. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. NLT
In the New Testament writings, “darkness” is more than a symbol but becomes a spiritual reality. Jesus spoke of “powers of darkness” (Lk.22:53). Paul spoke of battle with “powers of darkness” (Eph.6:12). A battle between the kingdom of light (God) and the kingdom of darkness (Satan), though not equal (dualism).
Being brought out of darkness into light is a major biblical image of redemption.
To escape the lost state requires nothing less than a divine rescue mission: the Father “has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins (Col.1:13 NLT).”
Those who believe in Christ as Savior are a “chosen people, royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light (1 Pet.2:9 NLT).” For people who are God’s children, “the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining (1 Jn.2:8 NLT).”
Step into the LIGHT. God IS Light and he calls us into relationship with Him.
- Find forgiveness.
- Find HOME in Him - no longer LOST.
- Find warmth and love - no longer in COLD.
- Find belonging - no longer ALONE.
- Find meaning & purpose - no longer AIMLESS.
We can also experience emotional darkness where we lack clarity, sight or direction for our lives. During times like these, we can feel as if we are in a valley, dungeon or tunnel. Job knew what it was like to “sit in darkness” as he experienced adversity and intense suffering with no explanation as to ‘why’. Joseph had a dream with no map. Abraham left his home not knowing where he was going. Mary trusted God with very little to go on! Do you feel like you are taking a “walk in the dark”?
Barbara Taylor says, “To be human is to live by sunlight and moonlight, with anxiety and delight, admitting limits and transcending them, falling down and rising up. To want a life with only half of these things in it is to want half a life, shutting the other half away where it will not interfere with one’s bright fantasies of the way things ought to be.”
St John of the Cross once said, “God puts out our lights to keep us safe because we are never in more danger of stumbling than when we think we know where we are going. When we can no longer see the path we are on, when we can no longer read the maps we have brought with us or sense anything in the dark that might tell us where we are, then, and only then are we vulnerable to God’s protection. This remains true even when we cannot discern God’s presence. The only thing the dark night requires of us is to remain conscious. If we can stay with the moment in which God seems most absent, the night will do the rest.”
Is it possible that we can we learn things during times of night and dark that we cannot learn in the light?
Isaiah 45:3. And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness - secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. NLT
God is described as one who creates darkness (Isaiah 45:7) yet God knows everything in darkness. Darkness is not dark to God; the night is as bright as the day (Ps.139:11-12). God has power over all forms of darkness.
God calls us to trust him even in the dark.
Micah 7:8. “Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light” NLT
Today I pray that you would find salvation, stepping out of spiritual darkness into the light of God's love. For those who know God, I pray that you would experience his comfort (he IS with you) and that he would give you clarity (insight to see into the current part of their journey) as you commit yourself afresh to trust him no matter what. May God truly be a light IN the darkness to you today.