Don’t be afraid of the dark
…Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
Exodus 20:21 (NIV)
Many young children are afraid of the dark, so their parents keep a light on in their bedroom or the hallway to help settle them for the night. Sometimes this creeps into adulthood; some people leave a light on or have a radio or TV on quietly in the background to help them get to sleep.
Of course, we don’t only experience the darkness of night-time; all of us go through periods of darkness in our lives that cause us to be afraid. It may be financial difficulties, the breakup of a marriage, ill health, or the death of a loved one. At times like these the darkness can feel impenetrable. How do we react during those dark days?
When the Israelites were standing at the foot of Mount Sinai to hear from God, they ‘…saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” ’ (Exodus 20:18-19, emphasis mine). At a time of crisis for the Israelites when they were very fearful they kept their distance from God.
Moses, however, did the opposite. He approached what the Scripture says was ‘the thick darkness’. It was a deep, heavy, impenetrable darkness that would have made anyone fearful.
And yet, incredibly, in that dark place, Moses found that God was there.
When we are going through a dark time we can feel alone, afraid, abandoned, or even rejected by God, and it’s tempting to do what the Israelites did and keep our distance from him. But Moses’s experience here teaches us a great lesson: God is with us in the darkness. In the darkness that descended when Jesus was on the cross, the Father did not hide his face from him but heard his cries, as David prophesied in Psalm 22:24: ‘For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.’
This is true for us too. The dark moments of our life are not the time to keep our distance from God or turn away from him; these are the times when we can, and should, draw close and cry out to him, for he is there and he hears.
You may be experiencing a dark season in your life right now, if so, don’t be afraid in your darkness, for God is there with you. Approach him through your pain and you will find that he has been there all along. Trust him and he will bring light to the situation enabling you to have a different perspective (Romans 8:28) that will bring a peace that is beyond our understanding.
Father, thank you that there is nowhere we can go from your presence, and that even the darkness hides nothing from you. Please shine as a light in our dark times illuminating the way ahead. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
Study by Barry Robinson
About the writer:
Barry Robinson is a minister in Grace Communion International and Regional Pastor for Southern England.
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