The Dreadful Darkness

Hope from within the Thick and Dreadful Darkness

No one ever goes about looking for life moments that are filled with “thick and dreadful darkness.”  It’s the kind of darkness that nightmares are made of.  You know, a dark and lonely path veiled in a dense fog – no light, only night filled with the sounds of the night.  The hairs on the neck stand straight up as if they want to lift you from the impending moment of dread and carry you away to bright and beautiful days.  No one in their right mind goes about looking for dread.  We avoid it if at all humanly possible.

As I was studying for a sermon these past weeks, I had occasion to take a long look at Genesis 15:12-21.  Here is record of an encounter Abraham had with God and it is filled with dreadful darkness.  And of course, it is an occasion filled with God and his promises.  A few thoughts popped out at me as I read this passage and wanted to take a moment to share them with you.

  1. The passage doesn’t say that God caused the dreadful darkness that filled Abram’s sleep. It doesn’t say that God caused Abram’s to be agitated while he slept.  Abram needed an answer from God and he was troubled about it.  It’s appropriate to be troubled about the word you are expecting from God.  Our life with him is serious business.  We should all want to know precisely where we stand with God.
  2. But we can rest assured; in striving with God, he is faithful to meet us and to deliver to us a word or a promise by which to live. God does meet us in the dreadful darkness.  Whatever has caused it come over us, we may be confident that God cares about each of us enough to meet us there and bring us through it.  Very often it is in these very moments of dread and unsureness that we are able to hear God more clearly.  It may be that it is in these moments that God is able to leave his indelible of grace on our person.  If you find yourself in the dreadful darkness – listen.
  3. God’s word to us may be a mixed bag. We may have to hear some things that we don’t want to hear, but they are true none-the-less.  Abraham received a glimpse into the future and it wasn’t all good – slavery, mistreatment and his own death, realizing that everything God promised him was for his future heirs. He would not taste the fruits of God’s promise to him.  When we decide to trust God we may have to deal with some bad times and never see the good times.  All we have is a promise of what may be for those who follow us.  For Abram and for us that is enough, or at least for us it should be.
  4. In Abram’s dream, he had to hear about the tough days before he found about about the blessed days. With God, we may have to pass through some tough experiences to get to the blessed ones.  The covenant promise God made with Abram carried great blessing for his family.  For Abram, knowing without a doubt that God would fulfill his promise was all the reward he needed.  Often the greatest reward of living is simply trusting God.  From there you can rest assured that one day it’s going to all work out for his perfect good.
  5. God had a plan for bringing salvation to all of humankind and because Abram believed God, he was brought into God’s amazing plan. The same holds true for us.  Believe God and experience the marvelous things he will do through you as he carries out his plan for the salvation of the world

Don’t fear the dreadful darkness.  Use it to discover the great work and promises of God for your life.