He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Ps 91:1
Many of us encounter some kind of uncertainty or darkness along the path of our lives. This darkness could be the darkness of confusion or lack of direction. Darkness could also be some snare of sin in which our feet are caught. It could be the darkness of circumstances with family or finances. Any place where we cannot see is darkness to us. When we cannot see we cannot move ahead. We are stuck in the darkness. We cannot see in the dark. Our instinct as Christians, particularly American Christians, is to pray one another out of the darkness. I wonder if that is always God’s plan for us.
I was reflecting on the many places in Scripture dealing with the darkness when Psalm 91:1 got my attention. It is the believer’s 9/11. It seems that the darkness may be a place where God wants to reveal Himself to us. There is a darkness that is the place of the sheltering, overshadowing, abiding place of God. The darkness we find ourselves in at this moment may be a place infused with His presence under the overshadowing wings of God’s mercy. Perhaps we are missing the point of the darkness.
We don’ usually like the darkness. It is place beyond your control and understanding. We feel alone and abandoned. We have no answer for it. We are uncomfortable and talk around the edges of the dark. In fact, we Christians generally ignore the darkness and in fact try to pray one another out of it while all the time missing the embrace of God’s presence. We rebuke the darkness–push back the darkness. What if in fact the Lord is speaking to us in the midst the darkness. What if we re missing our Dark Night of the Soul where the love of God brings us to purgation.? Can we be quiet enough to hear Him?
In the darkness God speaks to us as with Moses and Elijah who where both hidden in a cave on the desert mountain. (See Exodus 34 and 1 Kings 19) Ancient commentaries like Rashi tell us both were on the same mountain on the same Rock. If this is so then the darkness is a place where the heart and glory of God are unfolded to us. In the darkness God creates and calls forth the Light as in Genesis 1 at creation. In the shadow of His wings we find refuge, healing and sing for joy. (Genesis 1, Psalms 17, 36, 91, Malachi 4) The darkness brings an experience the embrace of the One who may be recreating us in the shadow of His hand. (See Isaiah 49:2)
The darkness is the place where human effort stops and the grace of God is revealed—where it is not about what we do but about the finished work of Christ as at Calvary where darkness descended at noon. In the darkness we listen a little harder to the voice of our Beloved and hear His heart. In the darkness we live in the present moment embraced by the Spirit of God. As we allow ourselves to be overshadowed we are immersed in the presence of God.
Let us pause in the darkness, under the shadow of His wings and learn to live in the shadow of the Almighty, this place of revelation and grace. Even when we cannot see the hand of God He leads and cares for us. We can entrust our frail hands into the hand of the One under who’s shadow we are living? Can we cease trying to run out from under the shadow of His wings? Beloved, our darkness not dark to God.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You. Ps 139:11-12