If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea,the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. Psalms 139:11-12
It may seem paradoxical that the God of glory, the true Light of the world, would prefer darkness over light. One might also think that darkness is the antithesis of God’s nature. We always perceive and equate the Holy with light, brilliance, and illumination; never obscure, shadowy, or undefined.
The role darkness plays in creation is an interesting subject. Could it be that there is a time and rightful place in God’s master plan when darkness is the preferred medium and approach? Let’s look at some examples and see.
The most spectacular and wondrous process on earth occurs in total darkness; the growth of human life:
As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. (Eccl. 11:5)
From conception to birth, the handiwork of life emerging within a mother’s womb is unseen and cloaked in obscurity. God chose a realm devoid of light to fashion life created in His likeness.
As with natural growth, spiritual growth also has its beginnings in the unseen domain of darkness. As the Apostle Paul writes in the Book of Galatians:
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you (4:19)
Literally, the growth, development and maturity of Christ-likeness in a believer occurs over time unseen, invisible, and perhaps even unacknowledged to the believer themselves. How is this? Through the personal growth of God’s word in one’s life.
As one obeys and understands God’s word (or God’s will) the word slowly, but reassuringly, weaves itself into the fabric of the human soul (i.e., mind, will and emotions) to direct one’s thoughts, actions and behaviors that are pleasing and acceptable to God himself. Jesus chose two different natural processes to explain this growth process; all occurring in total darkness.
Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew,
and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?
It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Luke 13:18-21)
In both examples given to us by Jesus, the source of growth (the seed and leaven) work undercover, and in secret, naked to ‘human’ eyesight. Such is the growth of God’s kingdom on earth, in darkness.
Most often revelation given to mankind from God is done in darkness also:
What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. (Matthew 10:27)
What Jesus is saying here is that during your time of devotions, in the darkened confines of your prayer closet, that will be the time when you will hear from me and the time when you receive my direction. And to add to this, share that direction and revelation revealed in the dark with others in the ‘light’ of public display.
Additionally, it is sometimes only during times of trials, difficulties and the so-called ‘dark’ times in life that we truly get a firm grasp and understanding of how deep God’s mercy, grace, and compassion can reach. Recall the journey leading to the safe harbor of hope is precipitated from a starting block located in a very dark place:
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: (Romans 5:3-4)
The Darkness of Sin
Jesus came not to call the righteousness, but sinners to repentance. He came to ‘seek and to save that which is lost’. Jesus came to rescue the lost bound in the darkness of sin.
To do that, God had to leave the splendors of heaven’s light and majesty and visit a sinful and dark world. The Holy and sinless One chose darkness over light. God enrobed Himself in the veil of human flesh to redeem and offer hope to a world living in brokenness and despair.
And Jesus will always prefer darkness over artificial light. The scribes, pharisees and the religious hierarchy of Jesus’ day were nothing but artificial light. Jesus could not work with the man-made light of pretense, ritual, predictability, and self-glorified egotism that was and is called ‘religion’.
But give the true One some ‘darkness‘ to work with; an adulterous woman, a lady entangled in abusive relationships, lepers, the blind, a wealthy, cultured lady with a messed up home life, a corpse lying in a tomb for four days, a lady with an incurable blood disorder, a daemon-whipped mad man, a corrupt tax collector, a foul-mouthed, arrogant fisherman, AND SEE WHAT THE MASTER CAN DO WITH THIS LOT. Yes, the King of Glory can take what is pitiful in the eyes of society and turn them into His pearls!
He who knew no sin, became sin for us! No one but a merciful and loving God would do such a thing. And why? So that we might become like him and partake of all His blessings and goodness:
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
What a mighty God we serve, angels bow before Him, heaven and earth adore Him, what a mighty God we serve!