Sitting alone in my room, lights off, staring out the window at the night sky, I wondered many things. How had this happened? How would I explain this to our children, family, and friends? What would come next? And perhaps the biggest question of all: what was God teaching me? What lessons did I need to learn as my world fell apart?
At that point, hiding in the dark felt like the safest place to be.
I could put off all of the questions and decisions and explanations until tomorrow. When the sun comes up, I told myself – Scarlett O’Hara style – I’ll think about these things tomorrow.
There in the dark, I successfully pushed the questions away – all but the one about lessons. Deeply embedded in my understanding of God was the belief that He brings trials into our lives to teach us something. I wrestled through that night and dozens that followed during that dark time to uncover what I believed God wanted me to learn.
God had something more to offer as He sat with me there in the dark.
Instead of rushing to add to my knowledge and understanding, I believe God was inviting me into the rest of unlearning some things I thought I knew about Him, about me, and about how our relationship works.
Recently, I came across this quote from Oswald Chambers:
The naturally curious and eager students among us (my hand is raised) seem to have a default setting when the darkness comes. Whether in personal trials, bad news from family, friends or the world around us, it doesn’t take long for our minds to grasp at the question, “What lesson is God trying to teach in this moment?”
What if we chose to believe that a compassionate, loving God might be asking us not to learn but to unlearn?
To lay down some long-held beliefs that keep us from experiencing the healing and wholeness that come simply from trusting Him in the darkness?
Maybe it’s a habit or a way of seeing the world that’s been a part of us for so long that we barely realize how it distorts our view of Him. Perhaps it’s a carefully kept routine we cling to or a particular version of the Bible we prefer. Or an interpretation of Scripture that we feel settles once and for all God’s thoughts on a matter.
All of the ideas, beliefs and noise we accumulate in our striving to know and understand the character of God can feel exhausting when the moment of darkness arrives.
How comforting to know in those moments that God is inviting us to unlearn and simplify our relationship with Him down to one of childlike trust.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”John 1:5 NLT
When darkness comes, the Father wraps us up in His arms and invites us to rest. He’s in control. We don’t need to understand or have all the answers immediately. Yes, lessons will come. But the greatest lesson learned in the dark is that God is with us, and we are not alone.