Rev. Susan Eaton
The Land of Deep Darkness
As I write this, we are in the season of Advent. Advent is a season that’s all about longing, waiting for deliverance. It’s a season of darkness, but it’s not a season without hope. Our hope lies in the truth that the Light has come into the world, and is coming again to make all things new: No more darkness. No more pain. There will be a new heaven and a new earth where we get to live in the full glory and light of our God.
And because it’s Advent, I’ve been thinking about darkness and light and reflecting on my own season of darkness — a season I have been more than ready to end for a while now. As I reflected, my thoughts led me to Genesis 1 where I read these words:
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light”’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”
And as I read, I saw this passage in a new light (no pun intended). You see, we often think of darkness as bad, don’t we? But here in Genesis 1, darkness isn’t inherently bad. It just was. Actually, it was just … nothing … until God’s Spirit hovered over the darkness and began to create something new out of it.
God then created light and called the light “good”, but still, the darkness was never called “bad”. God separated the light from the darkness and called the light “Day” and the darkness “Night”.
Do you see what happened? Out of the nothingness of darkness, God created something new: Night. God took the darkness and gave it a purpose by naming it and placing it within the rhythm of his creation.
Unfortunately, when humanity believed the lies of the enemy and chose to define good and evil in our own terms, sin entered the world, Satan got a foothold and claimed a portion of God’s creation for his own territory. And what part of creation did he choose? The darkness.
One thing I’m certain of is that wherever Satan lives, distortion reigns. He twisted and distorted God’s good purpose of darkness and took it for his own purposes. And he is still working tirelessly to make us unable to rest during times of darkness — whether that’s in the literal darkness of Night or in times of spiritual and emotional seasons of darkness such as depression, doubt, grief, etc.
His goal is to keep us living with a distorted view of darkness where instead of trusting that God can and will work in and through it for good, instead of knowing that it has an end —that the light will come — we experience fear, anxiety, panic, and hopelessness. He lies to us in the dark and tells us that we will forever be trapped in a deep, dark void of chaos and emptiness.
But what if we acknowledge that this view of darkness — the scary view, the one that says nothing good can come from dark times — is a lie? What if we choose to trust that the Spirit of God is hovering over our darkness in order to, once again, create something new? What if we let the darkness serve a good purpose in us, even if it’s through pain? And what if in doing that, we become co-creators with God to bring light out of darkness?
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane — a time of both literal and spiritual darkness — he did not succumb to the lies of hopelessness and despair but continued to trust his Father. He took back the darkness, let it serve its purpose — even when it was being used by the enemy to bring about his total destruction — and saw the morning come in the light of resurrection. God made a path in the midst of the land of deep darkness that led straight to resurrection!
So, let’s do the same. Let’s take back the darkness. Let’s let the dark times — the times of pain, of waiting, of fear, of grief — serve a purpose in us. Let’s not view darkness as something to be avoided at all costs, but let’s choose to sit in the darkness with God trusting that He is there even if we can’t sense Him, believing that He will bring the light of His resurrection into our darkness and pain, too.
And evening passed, and morning came…
Lord, for all who are sitting in a land of deep darkness waiting for the Light to come, may your Spirit be Present with them. Reveal to them your truth. Expose lies. Shine your light into the chaos. Hover over the darkness and bring forth a new creation. You are light and in you, there is no darkness at all. So, hover over us. Breathe on us. Let us feel your Spirit and see your Light. We’ll go through whatever darkness comes our way, Lord, and we’ll let it serve its good purpose. We believe that your Light will come and the distorted darkness of the enemy will not overcome it. We take back the darkness in your name, Jesus, Light of the World.