Darkness...who likes that word? For many of us it has negative connotations attached. And rightly so when we read verses like:
“So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days” Exodus 10:22 (ESV). Darkness was a plague.
“...while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” Matt 8:12 (ESV). Darkness does not sound comfortable.
“And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” John 8:12 (ESV). Darkness seems to involve judgement and evil.
Sitting in a class recently, we were discussing creation and I was struck with the thought “what if God prefers darkness?” In Gen 1:1 we read that God created the heavens and the earth. In the very next verse, we read the earth was without form and darkness was over the face of the deep. God created the earth from darkness. Babies spend nine months in a dark womb where they are knitted together by God Himself. From the dark womb they are birthed. A plant grows from a seed germinating within dark soil. So, I began to wonder if God prefers darkness? If it’s in darkness things are created, birthed, and developed then could darkness be a bad thing?
God has many attributes including creator, healer, revealer, giver, redeemer, sustainer, warrior and many more. Is it in darkness that God gets to really shine as He reveals Himself to us? When we are plagued with darkness God is the light that rescues us. When we are uncomfortable in darkness God is the light that comforts us. In the darkness that involves judgement and evil God is the light that redeems and saves. I see times in my own life I considered darkness. But in many of those dark times is where God revealed Himself to me, shared a truth that changed me, or allowed me to be comforted by His goodness and grace. As a result, I was drawn deeper into love with Father God. Reflecting on those times I began to see darkness from a different perspective. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” Isaiah 9:2 (ESV).
Then God showed me a picture of the beauty in darkness. He was a painter standing in front of a blank canvas that was resting on an easel. I quickly realized I was the canvas. He began to take his brush and with each stroke beautiful bright colors began to fill the blank canvas. Shortly after I noticed Him add shades of grey, brown, and even some black. Surprisingly, the dark colors didn’t seem to disturb me or make me feel uncomfortable. As I rested in His work, I watched the delight on His face as He seemed to marvel at what was becoming. Seeing the finished work, I was amazed at the beautiful abstract creation that had come out of the mixture of light and dark colors. It was through the dark colors the bright colors seemed richer and more vibrant. And it was through the bright colors the dark colors seemed less abrasive. And all the colors combined made one of the most beautiful works of art I had ever seen. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” Eph 2:10 (NLT).
Back to the original question: “What if God prefers darkness?” I wonder. If He doesn’t prefer it, I am positive He is not afraid of it. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” John 1:5 (ESV). I am also convinced He uses our darkness and creates something beautiful. “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory” Isaiah 61:3 (NLT). We don’t have to feel like the dark areas of our lives have lessened our value and worth...if anything they have increased them. Our dark times are part of our story and become the hope, encouragement, inspiration, and comfort we offer to others through the sharing of our story. God uses all parts of our stories including the dark parts. “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others...” 2 Cor 1:4 (NLT).
Can you begin to see darkness from a different perspective? If you are experiencing “darkness” in your life, can you see God illuminated? Ask him to show you the color that surrounds the dark. Beloved, you are His beautiful masterpiece created to reveal His glory!