treasures in darkness
This is a continuation of a previous blog post, where I talk about my tendency to make my own way, and light my own fires. Maybe you, along with me, can acknowledge where we’ve tried to light our own fire and make our own way apart from the Lord. In His mercy, he reveals to us where we live in unbelief, act like our circumstances didn’t first pass through His hands, and we try to save ourselves. It is a deep, slow work, this adventure of Him putting out the fires we make, watching for His light, and letting it shine through our brokenness.
You know by now that we don’t always sit in the sunshine with the birds singing gracefully around us. There’s a purpose in this. There’s a purpose in the darkness – it’s never wasted. Sometimes we sit in the dark because God’s mercy has let the flames of our own self sufficiency burn out, but often times we may find ourselves sitting in the darkness and don’t know why.
D. Martin Lloyd Jones reminds me that often times a child of God is called to keep journeying forward although it is dark:
“the child of light is sometimes found walking in darkness but he goes on walking. He does not sit down and commiserate with himself – that is the thing – the child of light walking in darkness. He does not see the face of the Lord at this point, but He knows that He is there; so he goes on.” (Spiritual Depression)
Nevertheless, He calls us to treasures in the darkness – in not knowing the perfect answer, in not at all understanding why this is happening, in not being able to see or fix the future, or fix today for all our apparent hard work, planning, and control.
And yet, there’s a treasure here, as Isaiah says,
“I will give you treasures of darkness and the hoards in the secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.” (Is. 45:3)
Treasure. My heart thrills at that word. And I wonder, “what is the treasure?” And then I see Isaiah 42:16-18,
“And I will lead the blind in a way they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are things I do, and I do not forsake them.”
Maybe the treasure is the closeness of the Guide. Maybe it’s seeing Him more clearly working miracles in our own hearts and around us. Maybe it’s the unshakable knowledge that even in the darkness we’re not forsaken.
My friend told me once she took her kids into a dark closet and tried to cover up any places where light could come in. She told them although it seemed scary, they were going to sit in complete darkness to wait and watch…and then slowly it happened, the slightest glimmers of light peaking through the crevices of the door. Their eyes sought out the light, and as they watched and waited, slowly they began to see it.
There’s always a glimmer of light if you are really looking. Jesus is light and He never will leave us or forsake us. Listen to what the prophet Micah declares in foretelling the promise of Christ:
“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light unto me.” (micah 7:8)
Because, the darkness isn’t dark to Him.
The darkness didn’t overcome Him.
The darkness will not overcome His light.
He came into the world and He extinguishes the flames of our own making and tells us that He is with us. (John 1)
The light of the world, who is all sufficient in love and strength and power is the One who enlightens the eyes of our hearts to the hope He has called us to. (Ephesians 1)
If you’re sitting in darkness, for whatever the reason, keep looking, watching, waiting, and walking. There is a treasure hidden there.
I’ll leave you with a favorite quote from Vaneetha Risner:
“I see that God has answered some prayers with a resounding yes in jaw dropping, inexplicable ways. I remember those answers with gratitude and awe. But the answers of ‘wait’ and ‘no’ have done a far deeper work in my soul. They have kept me connected to the Giver and not his gifts. They have forced me to seek Him. And in seeking Him, I have found a supernatural joy beyond all comparison. A joy not based on my circumstances. Not based on my deliverance. Simply based on His tender presence.”