These are extraordinary times. You are probably reading this from the quarantine of your own home amidst the worldwide Covid 19 Pandemic. It’s possible you are worried, scared, bored, angry at authorities, or “Covidiots”, or frustrated with your spouse or kids. The opportunities for darkness to creep in around us are rampant. But let’s let our eyes adjust to the darkness for a minute. Take a few deep breaths…
No seriously, do it.
Quiet yourself for a minute in the “darkness”, right in the midst of it. It’s ok. You might repeat a Breath Prayer (https://spiritualleadership.com/who-does-god-want-to-be-for-you/) several times.
Inhale, “Prince of Peace.”
Exhale, “Settle me.”
Now become present. (https://spiritualleadership.com/becoming-present/) Notice what is around you. Even name what you see: “I see the trees swaying in the wind outside with the tiniest of buds emerging, the robin hopping by, the dishes still in the sink…”
Acknowledge your emotions. You might even make a list of them. The good, the bad and the ugly, the whole jumble: “Worried, hopeful, frustrated, Restless, Thankful…”
Now become aware of God. He is here, in the darkness. He is not afraid of it. He is not weakened by it. His vision is not diminished in it. He can meet us in the darkest of places.
I begin to realize I actually like dark places. Not evil places, but literally dark with the absence of light. I have always enjoyed taking night hikes. I love looking at the stars or the moon on a dark night. Senses besides my vision become more keen in the dark, and what I am able to see looks curiously different. I hear things I wouldn’t have in the light. I might even sense things I wouldn’t have in the light.
Darkness brings opportunities to expand our senses.
One of my favorite outdoor activities is caving. I love walking or crawling into dark places under the earth that have rarely been seen by human eyes. There are such secret things of beauty there. Google “cave pearls” or “soda straws”. There are wonders to be found in dark places, treasures even.
That is what is promised in Isaiah 45:3 —treasures of darkness. God promised treasures of darkness to King Cyrus in the Old Testament, but I think we can claim that promise for ourselves as well. The Lord said:
I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
God promises His presence first. He will go before me and level out things I can’t climb over myself. In dark times it gives me great comfort to know that the LORD God has already been on this path making sure the biggest obstacles are out of the way. He’s been busy breaking doors open so I will have the provisions I need. He’s been cutting chains so that I am not held back. I am not on a leash. The possibilities are endless for finding treasures in this dark place. In fact, there are hoards of treasures to be found in places the world doesn’t know about.
God is leading me to the treasures in dark, or obscure, places; treasures that are not found in the light. You can not see cave pearls without crawling into a wet cave. You can’t experience the majesty of a cavernous room full of stalactites and stalagmites developed over centuries and eons without walking into darkness.
What’s true in the natural is true in the spiritual. You can’t experience spiritual treasures that are only formed in dark times if you don’t embrace the darkness and mine for the treasures there. There are actually treasures forming in these dark (obscure, not evil) times. What treasures you do you see forming around you when you adjust your eyes to the dark?
Even though your spouse might be driving you crazy and you’re arguing more, is there also an opportunity to work out those things that have been bugging you for years? Is there an opportunity for deeper intimacy and authenticity? How will you embrace it and mine the treasures from this dark time?
Even though you might be at your wits end trying to keep your kids occupied or focused on school, aren’t there also more opportunities for family time? What about opportunities to talk to your kids about fear or anxiety or their own emotions? These opportunities are not as plentiful in light and easy times.
Although there is plenty of potential to harbor fear in this time, this is actually the perfect opportunity to develop peace. Peace grows in the midst of storms! Its roots grow deep in darkness; then its blossoms are joyfully fragrant in bright times. Watch carefully (behold), it might even start blooming in the dark!
Let your eyes adjust a little more.
Look with your spiritual eyes.
What do you see in the darkness?
What treasures are around you, already being formed?
Make a list of the treasures around you in the darkness (even if they are partially formed).
What else would it take to mine these treasures from the darkness?