Creatures of the Light: What Darkness Can Teach Us
Do you like stargazing? I do–it is one of the things I like best about warm summer nights. A few years back, a friend and I were vacationing in Maine, and we decided one night to take our pillows and blankets and lie out on her deck to watch the stars. We were in a remote area with little ambient light and the skies were so incredibly clear, we could even see satellites moving across the night sky. And the longer we looked, the more stars, meteors, and satellites we could see. It was unforgettable and absolutely breathtaking.
There is something about being in a very dark place that enables you to see sources of light that aren’t visible any other way. The key is that you have to have the eyes to see it.
David has always been my go-to guy for inspiration on how to look at life’s challenges and dark seasons. Partly it’s because he’s so real and vulnerable and brutally honest about how he’s feeling, and he doesn’t try to hide that from God. However, even in the midst of defeat, darkness, or despair, somehow he manages to fix his eyes–and the eyes of his heart–on the light:
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
(then I realize) even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you. Ps. 139:11-12, italics mine
If you jump down to another stanza in this psalm, David goes on to say, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (v.17) My guess is that God was sharing His thoughts and giving David insights specifically during those dark times. It is both natural and biblical that we should ask God to deliver us from trials and difficult situations. But if and when He does not, we are to look for the lights He shines in the darkness. There are insights, blessings, wisdom, and revelations that will not be apparent to us in any other setting.
Our eyes were designed to seek out light, to gravitate towards it and focus on it. Our hearts were made to do the same thing, but we have to choose to point it in the right direction. Just like with stargazing, the darkness around us will help us focus better on the source of light if we look up. And if we fix our gaze there, the longer we look, the clearer those points of light will become, and the more we will notice how vast is the sum of them.
What precious insights has God revealed to you during dark times?
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