“Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness?”
Psalm 88:12 NLT
It sounds ridiculous to speak of the Lord of light being present within the darkness. It’s as if Jesus wraps himself within a cloak of invisibility and is present even though, no matter how hard I strain, I cannot discern him. So what are the features of darkness? I believe they reflect much of our own hidden nature. I am surprised at what thoughts at times enter my head, what behaviours emerge under pressure. We are increasingly told we are a society living under stress with encouragement to take the necessary steps to reduce stress levels in our lives.
We have become familiar with the term ‘stress test’. After the financial crash of 2008, banks had to undergo stress tests to determine their long-term credit worthiness. Such tests were repeated to both ensure improvements had been made and also to protect against future crises.
I believe that periods of darkness are something of a stress test. As I attended to the reality of the darkness, discerning the purpose of God, in as far as that was possible, but most of all continued to live God’s way, even though I felt God had departed, I found my way to living what I believed was a fuller Christian life.
The effort of managing my less than godly outbursts, of thinking through what I believed and why, exploring how to live for God in difficult circumstances, all helped me to develop a walk of faith that I knew was good for me. Life no longer organised me, I chose to organise my life with God at its centre. This was a hidden work, known to me alone. It was a work of faith, for I could not know if my decisions over timing and lifestyle might bring me closer to God or not.
What are the signs for you that life is feeling like it’s in a ‘stress test’?
Gracious Father, when I feel the pressure of life, help me to turn to you for guidance and courage.