Looking Into the Darkness to Find God

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.

Isaiah 45:3

So this is where the treasures are–hidden in the darkness. This is where the secret riches are–in my darkness. In my smashed heart times when I think I can’t get out of bed in the morning.

How can this be? How can this be when these are the times that God feels so far away from me? These are the times I feel abandoned by God.

Once again C.S. Lewis understood this. He figured out a way to explain this truth using words and story to help us understand this better. This story comes from the Narnia series, The Horse and the Boy. The full excerpt of this story is found here and worth the read. Bear with my abbreviated version as I am no C.S. Lewis.

Shasta, the boy in the story, is very tired and has nothing left inside of him. He is feeling so sorry for himself that tears are rolling down his cheeks.

Then he feels fear. Shasta has discovered that someone or somebody is walking beside him–in that darkness where he can see nothing. The Thing (or person) is walking so quietly that he can hardly hear any footsteps. Shasta stops crying because now he has something to really cry about. He can hardly hear the footsteps but he can feel the breath.

The Thing (or was it a person?) was beside Shasta so very quietly that Shasta begins to hope that he is only imagining what his mind is fearing. Shasta keeps on walking while the unseen companion keeps on walking and breathing beside him. Finally Shasta speaks.

“Who are you?” he said, barely above a whisper.
“One who has waited long for you to speak,” said the Thing. It’s voice was not loud, but very large and deep.”

In that darkness it was Aslan, the High King above all kings! In that darkness Aslan explained to Shasta the full story of how he was never alone. Aslan was with Shasta through it all. Now here in the darkest time, Aslan was simply waiting for Shasta to speak so that Aslan could comfort him. (Do read the full story.)

This is the treasure. This is the riches. As that verse in Isaiah finishes, the Lord calls you by name. You are not abandoned.

In that darkness I can know I am not abandoned.

How can this be?

I’m a part of a beautiful online community of women who are suffering from infertility and miscarriages. There are so many losses shared there. There is pain shared in post after post yet there is so much beauty in these women. I will never forget the photo of one woman showing us her baby bump sharing this is the biggest she will ever get because she had miscarried already and then declaring that this photo “represents everything Christ is doing in me.” What? How can this be? (To have these people in my life—who are in pain and not afraid of it–make me braver.)

Like that woman, I am not afraid of having my heart smashed because I have come to know that God is there very close to me. In that darkness God is there. Has always been there. Exodus 20:21 – As the people stood in the distance, Moses approached the dark cloud where God was.

This is something I have learned. The hard way. But I have learned it well. When I speak out of that darkness, God comforts me.

In a conversation with my one son who has the lengthy prison sentence where a lot of unfair things have happened to him, I stumbled upon this verse.

Dark clouds surround him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.

Psalm 97:2

What? Dark clouds surround God? I thought God was goodness and light. Particularly in that throne room. Particularly around that throne. Wouldn’t the light overtake the dark? How can God be in both light and the dark?

I have a painter friend. I was asking her this question and she said that in painting the most effective way to show light is to increase the darkness surrounding it. She has taken many classes from renowned artists to learn this technique. Hmmm…

The verse following Psalm 97:2, v. 3, also references dark and light together, Fire spreads ahead of him and burns up all his foes. That verse also very much sounds like righteousness and justice.

How can God be in both light and dark?

Sometimes God is undefinable. That undefinable God is who speaks to us in the darkness…when we ask. So often we don’t ask, we just walk away from God.

From those dark clouds is where righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Where the unfair things are made right. Where a miscarriage represents everything God is doing. This can also be said about every unfair thing that has happened to my son in prison.

How can this be?

This is part one of a 6-part series of what I learned from the Bible about God being both light and dark. Join me in seeing God in an amazing new way. May you also live slightly braver because of it.

(Photo credit by Palash Jain on Unsplash)