I'm a total nerd when it comes to my viewing preferences. Give me a rainy day, a cup of coffee, and unlimited time to chill in front of my computer and I will watch one of the following: a Jane Austin film, a food/travel show, or a documentary ... on just about anything.
Lately, having spent a day and a half in bed with some sort of something ... I watched numerous nature documentaries. On this most recent binge-watch, I learned about the illusive 6 to 7 cm tube-lipped nectar bat. The TLNB is the only animal that pollinates the rare plant, Centropogon, blooming for only 6 days within a year. The tube-lipped nectar bat has a tongue %150 the size of his body which enables him to reach the interior of this rare plant leaving him the only being on the planet able to reach this precious nectar. Rarer still is that by reaching his long tongue into the cavity of this plant, he rubs his head on the surface of the stem which contains the pollen. This is the only vehicle by which this plants' pollen is spread. Impressive. (If you want to know more, check out "Untamed Americas" on Netflix, "Mountain" episode.)
Then I read my Bible. I read the words of the Psalmist who says in Psalm 18 that enemies surround him on all sides, the ropes of death engulf his body, and the grave lays a trap for him. And yet, within the same breath, he proclaims the character of this God he's come to know as his ...
- Power that Saves
- Place of Safety
Now, stranger still, perhaps stranger than my little tube-lipped nectar bat, is what happens next.
"The Lord shrouded Himself in darkness, veiling His approach with dark rain clouds. Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him."
This is weird. This leaves me scratching my head. The very nature of God is light. In fact in Him there is no darkness at all. And yet, here, he uses darkness as a predator uses darkness waiting to ambush unsuspecting prey.
So what happens when what you read doesn't make sense with what you know? You wait it out. You ask the Holy Spirit who is TRUTH to explain some stuff to your head that you obviously don't know.
When I look back on the "dark" times in my life, they are pretty dark:
- anxiety so bad I could not leave my home
- such abuse of authority it affected my health
- hurting over the loss of losing a baby in the womb
- grieving long-distance over the loss of a loved one
- feeling "done" with a job ... with a place ... with life
In the middle of the darkness, it was ... dark. I cried out to God. Like the Psalmist, I felt the enemies surround me, the ropes of death engulf my body, and the grave laying a trap for me. I'm telling you, these were dark times. I cried out ... begging God to lift the darkness for fear I would not make it to the other side.
Most of the time, I knew there was an "other side" and knew that God, true to His character, would pull me through. However, there were doubts. There were times when I felt sure God had abandoned me - despite His word saying He never would. There were times when I felt I had absolutely no strength - despite His word saying He was my strength. How long, God, is this going to last?
Have you been there?
Do you know of the darkness of which I speak?
As I wait for TRUTH to make sense, I discover why God clouded Himself in darkness: He's a Master predator. The contrast between the darkest darkness being defeated by the Master of light is more than noteworthy - it's a down right miracle!
- When the healing comes for anxiety
- When the abuse is stopped and health is restored
- When the hurting over the loss of a baby is soothed by love
- When the grieving is replaced with peace
- When the feeling of "done" is sustained and given new birth
Then ... then you know the One who came in darkness snuck up and defeated that which kept you in darkness. He was not absent. He was not unconcerned about you or the circumstances. He was not too busy. He was not unwilling to act on your behalf. He was waiting. He was present all the time. He clothed Himself in darkness so He could enter the darkness with you. His disguise may have eluded you ... but He was there.
How is it possible to remain hopeful, in healing, in health, in love, in peace during the dark times? You must remember God's character and His Word. In the middle of the dark, it is the hardest to declare God's character and stand on His Word. Focusing on the darkness leads to more darkness. Focusing on the darkness, in light of the truth of what you know about the One who shatters the darkness, leads to victory. This is the fight of faith. Faith fights to declare what is not in the middle the dark. Faith fights to bring light into the dark ... and has the eyes to see the One who stands beside you in the middle of it.
The One who fashioned a rare plant on top of the Patagonia Mountains, allowing it to blossom only 6 days in a year also created a bat, a tube-lipped nectar bat, who because of its tongue, %150 times its body size, is the only creation able to reach its coveted nectar and allow it to continue it's lifecycle. He is the One who's very character is to care and provide for that which He created. And, His Word says that if He cares for something as small as the rare plant and 6 cm bat ... how much MORE does He and will He care for you.
That will get you through a dark night. That will fuel faith.
He's always in the dark,