Finding God in the dark.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside. (NIV)
We are the ultimate regulators. When we are hot, we look for shade. When it’s cold, we stay inside. When we are hungry, we migrate to the pantry. When we are lonely, we call old flames. When we are tired, we get coffee. When we are hurt, we create space from the pain. When we are depressed, we drink away the negative thoughts. And this is a problem.
Job is speaking out of suffering that cannot be tempered. The writhing pain of leaky boils on his body and mourning the loss of his children almost eclipses his financial ruin. He searches for God and can’t find Him.
We know that God never leaves us and we know the end of Job’s story. God never left him. But intense suffering makes everything dark. God is hard to find. Yet the Lord has taught us that, though He is the light, He also makes darkness His canopy. God is still with us in the dark. But like everything in the dark, He looks different.
Most of the time, God is the light that gives hope, direction, and understanding. In the darkness, He takes the form of suffering and refinement. If we hold to our faith, in darkness, we learn to seek God more fervently. Finding God in the dark allows us to go through the darkness without releasing our faith. Every dark moment of our life that ends in the miracle of God reveals God’s realness to those who don’t believe. God’s miracles shine brighter bracketed by darkness.
If we are the receptacle into which God pours His glory, darkness forms a deeper cavity in our soul to receive more glory for others to see. Are we willing to suffer in faith to help the faith of those around us? Will we sacrifice comfort to remain with God in suffering to help those who don’t believe? What does it say about God when we declare our loyalty to Him even in the dark? People will be drawn to the sustaining power that gives peace in the dark because every soul experiences darkness.
The darkness allows us to discover we don’t need to regulate our suffering because we know comfort without God is a shabby existence compared to suffering with Him. We know without God, darkness will swallow us whole. With God, though weeping may last through the night, joy will come in the morning.
Lord, teach me to embrace suffering as the refinement of my faith like gold. Amen