God in the Darkness

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Night comes early this time of year. Darkness falls even before we’ve had the opportunity to gather around the dinner table. We are in darkness more than we are in light during the months of December. And I feel it.

I’m not a sunshine seeker. In fact, I love the crunch of snow under my boots, cozy sweaters and crisp air. It’s just the darkness, the ever-present darkness, that pushes in on me and weighs me down, making me crave the light of summer. The darkness makes me look back longingly on what was–so much so that sometimes I miss the beauty of what’s right now, in the darkness.

I was a teen when I first learned there was a 400-year gap between the Old and New Testaments. When I asked my pastor why there was such a long stretch between the two parts of the Bible, he told me that God was silent before His people and it was a dark time. Somehow, I equated God’s silence to a deficiency in the people. In my adolescent mind, I believed that if you were “good,” then God spoke to you and if you were “bad,” then He didn’t. It seemed pretty straightforward to me … until I entered my own dark time.

Two years ago my dad died and my whole world was upended. I was suddenly in the dark.

In the years before my dad died, I fought my own battle with cancer, wrote a book and became an associate pastor at a beautiful, thriving church. It wasn’t an easy season of my life, but I walked out each day with determination and a sense of purpose that made me feel strong and accomplished. I felt God with me every step of the way. I could see Him there, in the light. I knew He was speaking to me, guiding me. But when my dad lost his battle with cancer, my world fell dark and silent.

Once my dad stepped into eternity, my husband and I decided to move our family back to our hometown to be closer to my mom as she grieved and learned how to live without my dad by her side. I left my position at the church, my community of support and my growing ministry in the area. In a matter of weeks, I went from an up-and-coming author and speaker to a chauffeur and caregiver for my mother.

While I knew this was the right thing to do in this season, I still felt a deep sense of loss for the life, and dream, I had built. I felt the darkness and the silence so keenly at times. I wondered if God had forgotten about me, if this life of grief and day-to-day management of mundane tasks was all that I would have from now on. I wondered if I’d ever feel the light of purpose and hear the voice of direction again.

There were times in these last couple of years, where I felt I was groping in the darkness for anything that would give me purpose. There were moments where I felt lost, overwhelmed, underwhelmed and abandoned. I felt despair and, yes, I felt sorry for myself.

But God’s patient whisper eventually reached my soul and stilled me. Once I was willing to feel and experience the darkness, I began to see the beauty in it.

I saw the stars that light up my darkness with words of encouragement and strengthening hugs. I felt the divine purpose of this season as I saw my mom grow in strength, confidence and hope. And I heard the persistent, loving whisper of God urging me to “just hold on a little longer” as He was preparing me for all that was to come after the darkness.

I’ve learned that the darkness isn’t unending. Darkness isn’t even silent. In the darkness there is rest, peace and time to just be. There is also growth in the darkness. Restoration. And rebuilding. The darkness is safe; it protects what is too new, too fragile to be sustained in the light.

God is in the darkness. He is in the silence. He is in the pause.

In those 400 years between Testaments in the Bible, God was still God and His love for His people never wavered. He didn’t leave them, not for a second. During those years and that silence, God was with His people, whispering to their hearts and guiding them by the hand. Even in that darkness, that pause, God had planned His moment of life, with His light breaking over the horizon. God had orchestrated a holy end to the holy night because that is who He is. He is the Beginning after the end.

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth …
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

I now see a light just beginning to break on my horizon. The darkness and the silence are fading. Although I look forward to the light and all that it brings, I will miss the darkness, I think. I will carry it with me in the peace, purpose and strength I learned from it. I don’t fear the darkness anymore. I am grateful. For it, too, is holy.

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Nichole Forbes
Nichole is just a regular gal loved by an extraordinary God. She believes in community, justice and freedom. She tries to live brave everyday and to say the kind words that need to be heard. She raises her three Not-So-Wee-Ones in the middle of the Canadian prairies with her favorite person ever, her husband, Brad. On an average day you can find her running errands in her really rad mini-van while sipping coffee and rocking out to The BeeGees. She blogs and is the author of Finding Me in Him: One Woman’s Journey to Discovering Her Identity in Christ.
Nichole Forbes
Nichole Forbes

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Nichole Forbes
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  • This time of year I love to sit with my Bible open to that page between the testaments just to remember and honor the dear people who lived in that time, persevering in faith that God would deliver on His promises — in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

    And, of course, we live in our own in-between pages. Thank you for describing how a woman can learn to appreciate (and learn from) the dark days. Your voice adds so much beauty to this community, Nichole.

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      Thank you Michele … I love how you meditate on the ‘in between pages’ too! I believe that there’s no such thing as a wasted day so even in these in between times God is at work in us and through us!
      Blessings!

  • I love your post and you description about the darkness being a time of rest, growth, and protecting. Often we are afraid of the darkness, but it seems to be a necessary part of our lives. How much better to embrace the darkness, for the light always returns.

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      Yes! Even seeds begin in the dark … growth can absolutely occur as we wait for the light!

      Blessings to you!

  • Ganise C.

    Nearly in tears. These words… Thank you.

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      Ganise, dear one, praying you feel God holding you close this holiday season!

  • What a beautiful and encouraging story. Thank you!

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, Susan. I so appreciate your encouraging words!

      Blessings 💙

  • It has been a poignant and, yes, dark season of Advent for my husband and I. I was talking with a friend about some of it and they apologized that things have been hard. I said, “Yeah, but there’s always a certain richness that comes out of the dark times.” You’re speaking to my heart here. “I don’t fear the darkness anymore. I am grateful. For it, too, is holy.” So beautiful, thank you.

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      Thank you! Praying that you will feel joy and peace even in the midst of this difficult time.

      Blessings 💙

  • I absolutely loved this. I’m in one of those seasons as well and have often said to people in the past, and am experiencing now, there is a beauty in God only found in those difficult and dark places. He is very much there. And, as much as I want to leave, there is part of me not wanting to leave this nuance of grace found in such tough times. Only God could bring beauty amidst the deep sorrow. Bless you!

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      Thank you. There is such a tender mercy found when you turn fully toward God in the midst of difficult times. Our decision to trust His heart despite circumstances opens the door for a different kind of knowing God.

      Blessings & peace to you!

  • Stephanie Thompson

    Thank you for sharing that perspective of darkness. The tendency is to naturally lump darkness with evil. Darkness naturally creates anxiety and fear. Biblically, darkness is the metaphor describing the working of forces to conquer God’s presence. Yet, God created day and night. Darkness in itself is not to be feared. Finding beauty in the dark-profound challenge. My mind will be pondering your words today.

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      Thank you for taking the time to read and ponder this. Blessings to you!

  • Michael Light

    I will give my interpretation of why the state of shadow influences people.

    1.What is true evolution? Everything may have come from a single pt but did it produce a Universe? What if this is a TEST & higher logic knows u must b deceived to b tested.
    Scientists thru history have helped paint a picture for u. I do not believe it is correct. They have merely interpreted Father’s maths the way it was intended.This is a place of deception. Y? Because true evolution resulted in an equation. Not Yang&Yin but Light&Darkness. The side of Light resulted in Father & Father created the rest.The Dark side is the reason for the test, it produced a learning state as well. Darkness666 is a learning Force/mag field, a state like the Fly that is embedded in the genetics of all creatures. His shape is an octahedron (a back 2 back pyramid) that fits inside a sphere(aka The Great Pyramid).The sphere is the shape your soul would b if it is Light.He searches for patterns of acceptable bad in u so He can use u like a Fly. What does a Fly do? It is trying 2 unbalance u so u release charged energy ie. energy Darkness can use 2 feed himself. Father created Satan 2 b the Dark overseer of the Test & gave him a tremendous amount of power 2 b so. His job is to keep u out of the Light where Darkness can take control of u (a job well done don’t u think). He laughs at u thru movies like Star Wars. At the end of the test Father’s maths calculates your equation, your alignment 2 Darkness & u go 2 Heaven or Hell. U c now the equation is separated. Father built Hell, but they r Satan’s rules. There’s no Sun, no food to hide the energy stealing from others – how do u think u’ll fair in a world of real vampires?. If u r still Light & most of u r not u need 2 think what it is u shouldn’t b eating (it’s not an apple) & where u should b. The Sun is the only source of Balanced Light in the world. Here’s how 2 use it 2 remove DarkEnergy-b Vegan,b fit,don’t eat b4/during,no lotions,reduce skin shadow,wash in sea/1-2hr.

    2.If the Theory of Everything is Light&Darkness then what would true evolution b. If a single pt did implode/explode what would b produced? Perhaps energy & the inherent forces.Over time the forces form patterns that become more & more intricate.To do this the forces must learn to bind the energy, to concentrate it.These r forces that must be in synergy with the energy – The Light.But an equation must result therefore some forces don’t want 2 b in concentrated energy, and they learn to unbind it. These r forces out of tune with the energy – the Dark. The fundamental difference is the energy. Light patterns can continue to expand, learn & b long lasting. Darkness is a more complex state – low energy patterns that become parasitic, that steal energy from other states to sustain a transient existence.I believe the Light resulted in Father, & Father has learnt to subdivide the equation. Essentially everyone is a binded Light pattern. But not all patterns want to follow this path. U need to Test them to see if they turn Dark. Against what? Darkness the evolutionary endpt of one side of the equation. This is the purpose of the World, but the whole process is hidden behind food & genetic machines.

    3.What r the manifestations of Darkness? Darkness666 is a fly like vortex state in the genetics that u r here 2b tested against. A black hole state. People talk about auras & this is essentially correct. He tracks your patterns, & adds an unbalanced charge to your memories & associated state of feeling. From a young age He tries to orientate your mood & keep it going around & around. To give u a consistent dark mood – superiority, devious, sad, overexcited, etc. A high % of people fall victim 2 this. All these states r energy draining states 2 others (Darkness is a hidden sickness). Ever walked into a teacher or bosses office & wished u were somewhere else? Darkness hides behind a fascade of learning, always trying to position the dark person He possesses so they can drain the energy of others. The person could b a preacher, teacher, lawyer, criminal, etc.