Excerpt from God in the Dark: 31 Devotions to Let the Light Back In.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Luke 12:34).
You clamber up the precipice, over slick rock and crumbling gravel. Struggling, you reach the peak, and for just a moment, you’re still, standing against the wailing winds. The great expanse of hope lies before you, a vision of a way forward, a way through. Your spirit begins to soar on the promise of what you have long sought and waited for. But too quickly, abruptly, the moment ends. The winds prevail and unseat your feet. The disheartening, downward slide into the dark commences. The view of hope disappears. Again.
When we’re deep in the dark, why does it seem as though we get only glimpses of the light? Why can’t we hold on to the spark of understanding? Why is hope, the way out, so hard to grasp? And what makes up those resolute winds whose sole purpose seems to be to keep us from a clear view?
Whatever those winds might be, I think I know their nefarious reasoning. They want to keep the light of God from reaching us, to hide his glory from our hearts. But these dark things are truly blind, as is the master who controls them. What they fail to understand or refuse to submit to is the profound truth that our Father is in all places . . . even in the dark.
The dark is the nature of this sin-struck world, and while we’re here, the unrestricted view from the peak is not sustainable. And our Father knows this. We are Moses, unable to look at God’s face—but just because his face is hidden doesn’t mean there’s nothing of him to see. He doesn’t hide from us. We must learn the art and craft, the skill of finding God in the dark.
Why Glimpses of the Light?
To ask, “Why are glimpses all we see?” reveals the fallen condition of my heart, the desire for perfection in an imperfect realm. My heart remembers a time before it held conscious memory and longs for that completeness to be restored. To ask why ignores the beauty of the glimpse and misses the blessing held within it.
Life without glimpses and precipices would render our existence vapid and vacant. Those fleeting moments help define our unique perspectives and make up our exquisite differences. The Father gives each of us these personal, intimate moments of hope between our spirit and his. These glimpses are, in part, how he breathes life into each heart. Complaining that the view is limited, even fickle, is choosing to wallow in the blackness of the crevice, choosing to forget the glimpse we’ve been given. What good is a glimpse if its wonder is lost and forgotten as quickly as the darkness returns?
Our lives cannot be lived on those rocky peaks, even though we desire it. We long for our Father’s beauty to be all we see and know and experience, and someday we will live this. To hold and cherish the brief moments of something otherworldly, as if his face passed before our eyes, is to live in the shelter of his grace. Here. Now. Today.
I think of Mary, the mother of our Lord, who “treasured” in her heart the things that happened, what she saw, and words she heard. I believe those treasures were her reserves for the darker days to come, because those moments of joy and wonder were sure to pass. Those tightly held memories were her glimpses in which she saw beyond the circumstances of her life and looked into the beauty of the Father. And she treasured those.
We, too, can treasure our glimpses. We can hide them in our hearts, and they become our reserves when the joys and wonders pass away. We can learn to see God in the dark in many ways: to remember and remind; to be faithful with the seeds of hope he has given us and plant them in the soil of our souls; to bury those treasures in the deepest wells of our hearts where they will be kept safe from the wailing winds. We can cherish the glimpse.
Instead of asking why glimpses are all we see, we can instead ask in gratitude and wonder, “Why does he give them to us?” The sweet simplicity of the answer is because he is kind. He knows the darkness we must endure while we walk this life, but he is full of grace and generously gives us bright and wonderful sparks of the “more” we long for. He fills our hearts with the treasures of what is in store for us.
Those glimpses, my friend, are your treasures. Treasure them as the gift they are meant to be.
Sarah Van Diest is a writer and editor. She’s the mother of two boys, stepmother to three more, and wife to David. Sarah wrote this book as letters to a dear friend whose life was turning upside down. Send Sarah your comments at [email protected].
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