This is my view as I write at 5:45 a.m.
Trouble is I’d have much the same view at 7 a.m., or 4:30 p.m. It’s just that time of year when everything goes frozen and dark and silent. It’s a living picture of Advent – that time of waiting in darkness for the Light of the World to appear.
As I write I’m wondering how many people reading this feel like they’re waiting for something. Longing. And how many feel like they are in a time of deep darkness when they can’t see anything that makes sense. Fuzzy outlines, but nothing sure.
Darkness and longing.
Ever heard of night blindness?
Well, I’ve got it. It means I have no depth perception when I drive at night. I get disoriented easily. I’ve driven through stoplights and on the shoulder of the road and over medians.
I know, I know! This is not good and I do stay off the road at night unless it’s well lighted and I’m familiar with the route (so you’re still pretty safe if you’re driving in the Twin Cities after 6:00.)
One dark night I was driving home from seminary and wasn’t paying attention. I made a wrong turn without realizing it and all of a sudden looked around and had absolutely no idea where I was. I couldn’t get my bearings. Slowly I turned the car around and drove back to where there was a familiar landmark I knew was “right”.
When I have to drive at night it’s necessary that I pay closer attention – to familiar landmarks, but more than that, to guiding lights along the road.
Whether driving or not, I think we’re all prone to a form of night blindness. Times when we can’t see God.
Think of the Jews between Malachi and Matthew. They had 400 years of darkness and silence waiting for a Savior without a word. What was God doing in that time of silence? What work was He doing in them? What kept them going? Hoping, waiting.
All they had really was the stories of God’s power and faithfulness in Scripture. Other times when all seemed lost. When God didn’t seem to know what He was doing. But, then shazam! He came through. Maybe not as expected, or even as hoped for, but in the best way possible. In the God way that isn’t our way.
Some of my favorite accounts of God at work are those when things aren’t as they seem. One story of “night blindness” I especially love is in 2 Kings 6 when the enemy Arameans have surrounded Elisha and his servant.
Elisha’s servant sees only the enemy, but Elisha sees more. He sees God.
Elisha says “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then he prays that his servant’s eyes might be opened.
“The Lord opened his eyes and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
I love that! Voila! As if God gave them night vision goggles like the military uses. The servant was able to see the protecting power of a heavenly army who had been there all along, but hidden from his sight.
Right now it’s still dark. If I didn’t know what was there it would be scary and overwhelming. But because I’ve seen God at work I know that this is what is really in front of me, when I can see it, and when I can’t.
Are you in a dark place where you need to focus on the light posts of God’s faithfulness from His Word? Or is there someone you know who needs to be encouraged by the light of God’s love manifest through you?