If we were to live in the darkness 24/7, our lives would look much differently. Not only that they were much shorter because of the lack of sunlight and the lack of its positive consequences on our body and soul. Also, our whole environment and surroundings were not that beautiful, I assume. Recently, I was reminded of what I just described when I compared two situations on different days with one another. The other day I was swimming in a lake when there was no sun but only dark gray clouds in the sky. The water did not look that inviting; it was rather obscure, shadowy, and opaque. As soon as “something” touched my legs in the deep water, it made me shudder. 😛
How differently it was yesterday when I was able to swim later in the evening as the sun stood rather low on the horizon and I could swim through water that was bathed and flooded with sunlight. It felt as if the water itself was all light, the waves were sparkling, with delight it seemed to me, as I tried to catch this liquid that was vibrant of life while doing the breaststroke. It was the same when I was lying on my back, doing the backstroke, while watching some thunderstorm clouds that were forming slowly, the airplanes high above the lake and the woods, cackling geese, and some martins that would be snatching at gnats, all before a still deep blue sky. Amazing, the difference… 🙂
The fear of the unknown, of the dark side inside us, the fear of what might be hidden in our subconscious mind; I guess we all know it. We know that we need more and more light in order to see what else is inside us that needs to be exposed, yet we fear it at the same time. Swimming “right into the sunlight”, I suddenly knew that being bathed in God’s light, every fear MUST eventually disappear. Jesus told us,
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12 ESV)
“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” (Jn 12:46 ESV)
Before we may ascend fully into the light, we need to pass several valleys of darkness. Whether such purifying and enlightening processes all happen here in this life on earth or after death only God knows since it is all part of His plan. I thought I could share with you at this point some quotes by Barbara Brown Taylor who is an Episcopal priest, professor, and author. I need to frankly admit that I wondered at first when I read that she was a woman priest and I said to God, “Oh my, shall I really go on reading?” – God asked me in return, “Do you have any prejudice? Am I not able to speak through everyone?” Well, well, that made me grin 😉 since I recalled how often I myself would write about the fact that God never shows partiality and shares His wisdom with everyone just as He wills. So, here you are, an excerpt of an interview which I linked at the end if you like to read more.
In Genesis, darkness existed before God even got to work as a primal substance. Everything was made by God from dark. In Exodus, God promises to come to Moses on Mount Sinai in a dense or dark cloud. Here, darkness is divine and where God dwells. Abraham meets God in the darkness; Jacob wrestles an angel in the middle of the night, and angels announcing Christ’s birth to the shepherds at night. There’s so much that happens in the dark that is essential to the Christian story. –
Darkness is everything I do not know, cannot control, and am often afraid of. But that’s just the beginner’s definition. If I am a believer in God, then darkness is also where God dwells. God may also be frightening and uncontrollable and largely unknown to me, yet I decide to trust God anyway. –
There is a lot of what happens these days that I would call “spiritual bypassing,” where one offers a religious formula to will help you stay on top. But I cannot sell out the Christian message, which at its heart says that when the bottom drops out and you’re screaming your guts out at God, there’s more. It says that if you are willing to enter the cloud of unknowing and meet God in the dark—maybe even the dark of a tomb—you might be in for a surprise.
The great hope in the Christian message is not that you will be rescued from the dark but if you are able to trust God all the way into the dark, you may be surprised.