I love the sunshine. I love the sunlight shining through the windows of our house and I love the feel of the sun’s warmth on my skin. But I woke up today and it’s cloudy. It’s not just cloudy, it’s socked in – it’s overcast. And the cloud cover is thick enough that the whole scene outside my windows is shaded in grey. In a word, it feels gloomy.
My soul feels a bit like that today as well. At this point in the pandemic fatigue has set in. Physical, mental and spiritual tiredness. It makes it feel like every day I’m just going through the motions. So having to wake up to a day of dreary weather hasn’t helped. It’s like my soul took one look outside this morning and sighed, “Yeah, feels about right”.
As I sat down for my devotions this morning I began by praying about the weather. I told God that it wasn’t helping my mood that it was such a gloomy day out. I talked with him briefly about how parts of my life seemed to be covered by clouds right now, and how He was supposed to be the sunlight in my life. I asked Him to break through the clouds and shine His light on me.
My daily routine is to begin with a brief prayer (like the one above) and then to read a chapter in the Bible, write in my journal, and then pray some more. I follow a prescribed reading plan and this morning my reading was Psalm 139. It is perhaps the most intimate passage of Scripture in the whole Bible. It’s the one that talks about how God knows us so personally, He knew all about us while we were still in the womb. And now that we’re out, there’s no place we could go where he still wouldn’t be there to look after us. If you’re feeling lost at this moment, I highly recommend you go and read this psalm!
Verses 11 and 12 arrested my attention:
“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.”
And there it was, that still, small voice, whispering in my spirit to pay attention. As I paused with that passage God began to show me something about himself. The darkness doesn’t obscure his view of me. God can see in the dark. In fact, the darkness isn’t a barrier to Him at all. I might feel like I need light in my life to see God, but He was saying, “It’s okay – I don’t need light to still see you.”
I was reminded of something I heard early in this pandemic last year. A speaker said that God is the creator of the night, as well as day. That in the great Creation narrative the author points out that each day was marked by saying, “there was evening and there was morning.” That God created the lights in the sky to govern the day and the night and to separate light and darkness. And all of this was “good.” The lesson here, he said, is that even the dark serves God’s ultimate good purposes.
Sometimes, life can feel like we’re in the dark. Our souls can feel under a shadow or cloud. In that season life can feel gloomy and overcast, without hope. We can feel like God is distant or absent, and we can long for the sunlight to return. But it’s okay. God says He still sees us. The darkness we’re in doesn’t block us from His view. Whether it’s despair, or depression, or grief or hopelessness – whatever this darkness is for us, He sees right through it. He still sees you.
- Kevin Armstrong