Finding God in the Darkness

by Marlin Hotle

Exodus 20:20 & 21 - “And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.’ So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.” 

When we think of meeting with God, we probably think of fire, light or maybe the burning bush. We just naturally associate God’s presence with majesty and glory. But I have discovered, like Moses, sometimes God is waiting to reveal Himself to me in the thick of darkness. 

Have you ever faced what one Church Father described as “the dark night of the soul?” A few years ago I experienced such a time. I never want to face such a period again. But I will tell you that God taught me some things in the darkness that I intend never to forget. During those trying days I found great help from one of Gordon McDonald’s books. He described how, during one of those times of darkness, he started keeping a journal of the lessons God taught him during that period. I decided to do the same, and it proved to be very helpful. I recently reread my journal and let those lessons speak to me again.

If you are experiencing a period of trial and brokenness, let me suggest that you listen for God in the darkness and see what He may want to teach you. I don’t have the time nor space to share all the lessons recorded in my journal, but let me leave you with a few of them.

  1. God’s strength can only be made perfect in weakness when we recognize and acknowledge our weakness.

  2. Partial obedience is disobedience.

  3. God is offended when we turn to Him as the last resort instead of as our first option.

  4. God’s love is unconditional but His promises and blessings are not.

  5. Loving God is not enough. You must love Him more than yourself and your sin.

  6. Even Job, when he faced all his troubles, wrongly assumed that God had sent them.

  7. God’s grace is measureless but His patience is not limitless.

  8. My aim is to let go of the past, live in the present, and look to the future.