When Darkness Dims Your View of God

Photo by Harriet Moar-Smith via Creative Commons

Photo by Harriet Moar-Smith via Creative Commons

“Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:12 NIV).

I’m always at my worst when facing grieving people. I usually dash in the other direction after I fail to find something meaningful to say.

So, instead of talking I pray. Since my last post about losing our baby, I find myself sorting through stories of grieving families. My story of daring God to show me 1,000 ways He turned around the tragedy touched some people.

And what I heard back touched me.

I spent the first part of Thanksgiving morning weeping for a guy named Thomas that I will probably never meet. After losing a 5-month old baby two years ago, he still feels the sting.

Today my heart is heavy for Kristi whose baby was born sleeping at 39 weeks.

If you follow my blog you know I, too, am walking through a bit of darkness now. That’s why remembering my college humanities course—and what I learned about dark spaces on a canvas brings me so much comfort.

In this class I became obsessed with Chiaroscuro art.

I studied painters like Caravaggio and George de La Tour and went through a Noir film stage. But it was the paintings I loved best.

I relished the contrast between light and darkness. I loved the way shadows gave way to light. The highlighted scenes seemed to jump right off the dim backdrop.

Painting by de la Tour via Creative Commons

Painting by de la Tour via Creative Commons

At length I studied these works and always focused my eyes on the light.

In this season where God is painting dark hues on the canvas of my life, I’m trying to remember the purpose of darkness. Our dark moments serve as a backdrop for the glory of God.

How else would we know God’s magnificence if we had nothing to compare it to? Earlier this week, I penned these words in my journal.

In our darkness, we have an opportunity to see the light, to gaze at it. We have an opportunity to keep step with the Prince of Light when we, ourselves, cannot see. Darkness, too, is a gift in that sense.

How beautiful of God to use light to describe Himself. He created light in the beginning. With only a word he commanded light to be.

He created the world in darkness. When it was formless and void and darkness hung over the deep waters, it was there where God hovered over the surface, right there within the darkness (Gen 1: 1-2).

In the midst of His creating in us, sometimes darkness remains. Sometimes God’s spirit in us must dwell in seeming darkness, but God always comes and says, “Let there be light.”

May God be your light today in the middle of your darkness.

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” ― Og Mandino

8 thoughts on “When Darkness Dims Your View of God

  1. “In our darkness, we have an opportunity to see the light, to gaze at it. We have an opportunity to keep step with the Prince of Light when we, ourselves, cannot see. Darkness, too, is a gift in that sense.”

    I love this. :)

  2. There is treasure in darkness too. Think of the darkness of the womb (despite our personal sadnesses); or the darkness in soil where seeds need to germinate to grow. If we are always in the light we might find it too much and not appreciate it.

    “The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy. there is radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see; and to see we have only to look…
    ‘Life is so generous a giver, but we , judging its gifts by their covering, cast then away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendour, woven of love, by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there; the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence…
    Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty (beneath its covering) that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage, then, to claim it; that is all!”

    (letter written by a priest in 1513)

    My dad has just died (26 Nov 2014). He was 86yrs. It was the right time. My mum could not have looked after him much longer even with support she received. He died in the early hours of the morning at home where he wanted to be. I had the privilege of being present with my husband and so Mum and Dad were not alone. I am too busy to grieve just yet. I know that I am being up-held by Someone stronger than me as I do my best to act as the lynch pin for the family with all the arrangements. Please pray for us.
    Love and blessings to you.

    • This letter is a treasure! Imagine we’re still soaking up the wisdom after 500 years. Thank you for gracing me with it.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. May you feel the hand of God as you grieve. May you feel God’s closeness the next few months. May God multiply the strength He’s already giving you. Blessings to you friend.

      • Yes. The letter is a treasure. It is amongst a number of readings and meditations in a book compiled by Leslie D Weatherhead called “A private house of prayer” The book belonged to my granny and my mum lent it to me (gave it to me) when I was a teenager.I have long loved this particular meditation.
        Thank you for your prayer.
        Blessings too to you friend.

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