Psalm 23 tells us that God is with us even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Shadow of death can also be translated as “deep darkness”. Not everyone has known this kind of darkness, but for those who have, we understand it all too well. We can be comforted by the fact that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, suffered alone so we never will have to. He willingly allowed himself to take on the sins of mankind, severing him from his eternal Father temporarily, so that we never have to experience that same aloneness.
It sure may feel like you’re alone. These days, more than ever, you may feel alone, but we have to constantly remind ourselves of God’s promises that he will never leave us or forsake us. Joshua 1:9. Isaiah 43:5. Over and over again in Scripture, we’re reminded that he is with us. Sometimes, we must simply preach truth to our hurting hearts.
Psalm 139 tells us that “even the darkness is not dark to you.” (v. 12) Here lies our hope. God will be with us even in deep darkness, but the darkness is not dark to him. Why does the darkness feel so dark to us but not to Him? 1) Because he’s an infinite, all-knowing, all-seeing God, and 2) Because he knows He’s doing something in the darkness. It is accomplishing something for us.
In the story of Joseph, we’re reminded that God uses even evil for our good. While darkness is terrible and painful at the time, God uses it to make us more like him. He uses the periods of deep darkness in our lives to teach us to rely more fully on him. Like Paul learned, the thorns in our life teach us that his grace is indeed sufficient for whatever trials we bear in this world.
We’re told over and over to trust him. Proverbs 3:5-6. Psalm 37:3. Psalm 62. Isaiah 50:10. Why are we told to trust him so many times in Scripture? Because it’s difficult. It requires faith. We are reminded that we must trust in what we cannot see, and that makes no sense. Even when we hurt, we must trust that God is still there, He still loves us, and He is still working, even when we can’t see it. It is during these times that we must trust him the most, and that is what he desires because it builds our faith. James 1 reminds us that trials are what develop our character because they force us to persevere. We would be severely lacking in character and faith if we never encountered trials. It is these times of darkness when our faith truly develops. Why? Because it’s not hard to trust him when things are good.
Keep trusting. Keep reminding yourself that God is doing something. Remember that suffering is not your final destination. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13) How do we find joy and peace in darkness? In believing, and with the help of the Holy Spirit.