When I was a boy we sometimes rode into Auckland on the train. Early New Zealand rail coaches had the lights off in the daytime, so when we entered a tunnel new Newmarket the car would become totally dark for a brief time.
In the dark the pupils of our eyes, which in the sunshine shrink almost to pinpoints, expand wider and wider in the darkness. And when the train suddenly bursts out the other side of the tunnel, the brightness of the world outside is astonishing! And so it is with the “darknesses” of God.
Often we do not appreciate the brightness of the light we already walk in until we enter this discipline of God. We have absorbed so much that the “pupils of our spiritual perception” have shrunk to a pinpoint. We have been given so much that we cannot appreciate what has been shown us so God graciously may put us onto “His train” and run it into the darkness.
It feels dark but God is there. He is the One who dwells in thick darkness (Duet. 5:22). The darkness and the light is alike to Him (Ps. 139:12).
There are treasures that can be found only in such darkness, for there He will show you things about Himself and about yourself that you could never learn any other way. The darkness you are in is only a tunnel and the train is on a sure journey through it. It is headed out without fail to the place you need to be, and the Engineer knows all of the way.
In the darkness some of our convictions and our promises to God are tested. You think these are so unshakable that you will never, ever doubt them, then the darkness comes and you start asking questions. Maybe you had a wonderful experience, and on that day you said, “Lord, I know You’ve called me and I dedicate my life to You. I’ll never turn back.” Then darkness comes. It lasts a week? Maybe more even a year but when the darkness has finished its work in you, everything that can be shaken will be shaken out of you, and only what is firm, real, and solid shall remain.
In the darkness, just keep trusting in the Hand that is holding you, that you can’t feel. He is not missing because you cannot see Him! God is in everlasting covenant with you. He is faithful and will remain faithful yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8)
In this time of darkness, go over in your mind what God has already done in your life. Think of the times you felt His goodness and experienced Him in your life. Remember what His character is like.
There is an old verse that goes like this
“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the years,
‘Give me a light that I may walk safely into the unknown’
He said to me, ‘Go out into the darkness
And put your hand into the hand of God
And He shall be to you brighter than a light
And safer than a known way.’”
Ultimately you will come out of the darkness into a greater sense of the Light than you had when you went in. You will have come to a destination that only a “tunnel” could have taken you to. You will have a fresh appreciation for all that you have “seen” of God. You will have developed greater faith and a solid confidence in your Father and you come to see that while you were trying to hold on to Him, He had a firm hold on you.