40 Words: “Darkness” (02.16.2016)

“The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud…” (1 Kings 8:12 NIV)

The Bible is full of “light and dark” metaphors: light is mostly good; dark is mostly, well, you get the picture…

This is so consistent that it can be tempting to make a rule of “light and dark”, and assume that darkness always equals some kind of negative or uncertainty. Then, when we get confronted in your life with something that somehow corresponds to darkness, or unknowing, or a cloud, we can too quickly jump to the conclusion that “this is not God.”

And yet, the Bible is also pretty clear that God is not always to be found in the light; sometimes, God is found in clouds, in darkness, in obscurity.

(The Bible tells me so…)

Following Jesus through Lent sometimes means following him into uncertainty. Jesus gets to the point in the Garden of Gethsemane when he cries out to God to take the impending cup of suffering from him.

God says, “No,” and Jesus faithfully accepts his path, believing that his God will ultimately vindicate him.

But there is that moment where he asks… There is that moment where it’s dark, and not light.

Twilight.

Choosing disciplines like silence and solitude means often to opt for knowing and experiencing less, not more, which is a kind of darkness, and in that darkness of our own we sometimes think that this a time of neglect or punishment or distance from God.

Yet, as Solomon prays in 1 Kings, God dwells in a dark cloud (or “deep darkness”), which means that when we enter the clouds…

…of Lent

… of suffering

… of loss

… of confusion

… of doubt

… God is not less present to us. He actually may be more present, if for no other reason than darkness deprives us of some of our human efforts. 

When we can’t see, we need to trust. 

And in the realm of faith and spirituality, trust tends to be a good thing.

Embrace the cloud. You may be surprised what (and who) you find there.

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