a face covered by dark shadow

Encountering darkness

face covered half by light half by darkness

In the beginning, darkness was safe, created for our rest and sleep, but due to sin, we often face distorted darkness. The darkness that frightens, which is used to cover abuse, torture, death, rejection, abandonment, hopelessness, deception… and this list is endless.

To face such darkness is always hard: there is no more love and rest dwelling in it. From such darkness, whether physical or spiritual, the effect is very similar: we become tense. Our bodies, our minds become tense. We try to find a secure place as quickly as possible. We know that in such darkness we can be attacked from anywhere without being able to quickly recognize and identify the source, the direction of the attack from the enemy, or the enemy itself. We can be easily wounded, deeply wounded, or even killed. We are afraid of that; therefore, we either try to escape the darkness or at least to balance our insecurity in it with something that might protect us.

Darkness reveals our vulnerability to us more vividly than anything else. (This effect is actually a good one, because it points us toward more objective self-awareness. It can be “truth revealing,” especially for those of us who are prone to overestimate ourselves.)

Enemy enjoys keeping us in darkness for as long as possible. Because in darkness, when our minds lose a clear vision of reality, we can be more easily approached closely and tortured or even destroyed. He keeps us in darkness, either by suggesting false, quick ways out from the discomfort and imbalance darkness evoked in us, like: “just take your cigarette, calm your nerves,” “just join that bad company, and you’ll be saved, become friend with them, and you’ll be secure,” “renounce Jesus as your Savior, because, see, He is not helping you now at all. He doesn’t exist. Save yourself. Everything depends on just you. You are the builder of your happiness. You alone. Immerse yourself in sex, porn – you need a good pleasure right now, you are just human, after all … you had a hard day and the hardships and tensions don’t end – you’ve earned that pleasure,” and so on and so forth.

If we choose these sham ways out, darkness increases, we end more broken and we wound others around.
Or the enemy keeps us in darkness by telling lies about it. If we choose to believe those, they also increase the darkness. Many, I suppose, can resonate such lies once heard in the depths of their souls in the past: “this darkness you are facing will never end”, or “you are hopeless and helpless, you are too weak to fight it”, “you will not survive it, you’ll die.”

Nevertheless, God doesn’t leave us. Never. He teaches us how to deal with distorted darkness. He teaches us, firstly, not to be afraid of it. He breaks the lie that darkness is so strong, that it might kill us. No enemy can kill us, not the darkness. Our souls can bear the darkness. Darkness alone cannot hurt us, just too much darkness is not good for us. Darkness is not a place for us to dwell and function, in God’s eyes. We were created to dwell and function in light. Therefore, God reminds us that we are called to always step out of darkness, whenever we can.

We have to choose light and seek it. We are people created for light. Light is life for us, and this light is powerful, more powerful than any darkness. When light shines – darkness cannot overcome it (Jn 1:5). God, who is light, is always with us; therefore, we can always overcome any darkness.If, when facing darkness, we choose something sinful: be it cigarette, alcohol, premarital sex, or other “pain-reliever”: watching a sinful serial movie, or diving into codependent relationships, or criminal acting out, or falling into despair, or immersing ourselves in fantasy or virtual reality… we always become more wounded ones, we will lose our battles with the enemy, darkness is increased…

If we choose God in darkness – to lean on Him – we immediately step out of darkness into the light. The most powerful weapons in the midst of darkness for us are: gratitude, speaking truth to one other, and worshipping God.These three are all about truth, which is God, which is life, and therefore light: gratitude – because we always have things, which are given to us completely freely by God’s mercy and His free will, we start to thank in darkness, light starts to shine; speaking truth to one another – because this makes us transparent and known and therefore breaks our loneliness in darkness and opens the prisons of our private sins to which we are so prone to lock ourselves in the presence of darkness; worshipping – because God is the highest love, beauty, and perfection, always bigger than any darkness; therefore, so worthy of praise. Worshipping is proclaiming the truth about God, so it’s an act of light. These three are basically the opposite of what the enemy proposes for us in darkness. They immediately unveil his attacks and lies. They really help us to secure our hearts in darkness. They provide a true and good shelter until God removes the darkness from our lives completely.

Only God is light. We are not, neither our deeds. Only He has the absolute power over darkness. But He shares with us His light, and we can stay in it, if we stay open to God…God is faithful. He never leaves us. Sometimes believing this is a true fight for our hearts and our souls. Darkness can be really thick, with temptations in it as well, but they are not stronger than God and His saving presence for us.

We can survive every darkness as John, the apostle, wrote: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1Jn4:4). It’s so worth it to fight for more God in our hearts and souls. And darkness is sometimes the best trigger for such fights.

Holy Spirit, help us in our times of darkness, and everyone who faces scary darkness at the moment, not to lose hope, not to be afraid of it, not to panic due to the encountered darkness and discomfort it evokes, but to keep fighting it with good weapons: truth, worship, and gratitude. Send to us and them your people, who might minister and encourage their weary souls.

Also, help us to find peace with our anxieties that are evoked by the bad memories connected to the experiences of distorted darkness in the past and our bad responses. Heal us from sinful responses. Be our cure, Lord. Shine Your light in us and through us. Teach us to use the light you put in us to break the power of fear and false dark ways out the enemy is proposing for us, that we could stand strong in darkness, the same as Job did and proclaimed: “yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face” (Job 23:17)The saints teach us well. Thank You, Lord, for them. Jesus, I trust in You.

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