Finding hidden treasures in dark places
By: Leslie Vernick
I’ve never been good with waiting. My husband never understands why I purposefully read the end of a novel just to know what happens and yet still go back and finish reading the rest of the book. When we watch a movie, if he knows how it ends, I want him to tell me, then I can settle in and enjoy the rest.
When I was a little girl, I discovered some wrapped presents on a tall shelf in a dark hallway closet. I carefully unwrapped them one by one to see what they were and who they were for. They were for me. I was so excited, I could barely wait until my birthday to receive them. Unfortunately when my mother realized that someone had been sneaking a peek she was not happy. She threatened not to give me my gifts just because I saw them ahead of time.
Like my mother’s carefully hidden birthday gifts, often the gifts God gives us are concealed in the dark where we can’t readily see them unless we diligently look for them. Diamonds don’t hang from trees but are mined deep in the belly of the earth. They are plentiful but must be excavated out of that darkness in order to be seen and enjoyed.
As believers, we dread darkness because it usually symbolizes sin, depression and that terrifying dark night of the soul. Doubt, despair and feeling separated from God are often the emotions that accompany our interior nightfall. Yet, God promises us something wonderful in the midst of our darkest times. Like twinkling stars that shine the brightest on a black night, God offers us special secret treasures that remind us that he has not forgotten us and we are not alone.
Sometimes it’s after Christmas – the letdown of the holiday season, the harshness of winter, the hangover of too much eating or spending, we start to experience a dark season. But remember, even in the darkest place, God is still there. God tells Isaiah, “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” (Isaiah 45:3)
What treasures have you found while experiencing the dark night?